Remaking Old Coal Plant Into Energy Storage Facility

Originally published on CleanTechnica.

Four companies have taken on the challenge of repurposing an old coal plant into a 2MW battery-based energy storage facility for grid support (the storage capacity of the unit has not been indicated).

Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the US, has reincarnated its retired coal-powered operation, the W.C. Beckjord plant, based in New Richmond, Ohio, thanks to a development partnership with LG ChemGreensmith, and Parker Hannifin, which provided the 2MW power conversion inverter

This completed facility is classified as a fast-response energy storage system for regulating grid frequency for PJM, the regional transmission organization that directs the flow of electricity for 61 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Beckjord-aerial-mainAccording to press information, construction began in August 2015 and the system began operations on Nov. 17.

“Locating the storage system at our retired coal plant allowed us to take advantage of the grid infrastructure already in place and repurpose the site for use with new, relevant technology,” said Phil Grigsby, Duke Energy’s senior vice president of Commercial Transmission. “This system is another step for Duke in the development of turnkey energy storage solutions that benefit customers and demonstrate the potential for future applications, such as large-scale integration of renewable energy onto the grid.”

Improving the reliability and economic efficiency of the electric grid provides a unique service to grid operators. As customer demand fluctuates, accurate and rapid-response energy storage can instantaneously absorb excess energy from the grid or release energy in seconds — as opposed to a power plant that could take 10 minutes or more to ramp up.

LG Chem provided the energy storage operating system, made with advanced lithium-ion batteries.

Sunghoon Jang, senior vice president of LG Chem’s Energy Storage Solutions business unit, said Beckjord 2 is an example of how LG Chem is rapidly deploying energy storage systems for critical, real-world applications.

Greensmith added the GEMS energy storage software platform to manage performance for PJM frequency regulation, ensuring precise and synchronized response to signals dispatched every two seconds.

The electric grid, as many customers have learned the hard way from power outages, is a massive infrastructure in need of better operating technologies.

“Maximizing an energy storage system’s frequency regulation score while minimizing battery degradation throughout the system’s life is no trivial task,” said Greensmith CEO John Jung, adding that the GEMS frequency regulation software module will enable Duke to achieve superior PJM performance scoring, while extending the life of the batteries.

In addition, Greensmith oversaw the design and configuration of the entire energy storage system, integration of the balance-of-plant components and site commissioning.

The 2MW project adds to Duke Energy’s installed base of commercially operating energy storage systems. With the completion of the new project, the company will operate a total of 4 MW of energy storage at Beckjord, where a separate 2MW battery system already exists. (Again, storage capacity is not indicated, and the PR people may well be mislabeling MWh as MW — we will update this article if we get more information on that.)

According to independent research, Duke Energy owns nearly 15% of the grid-connected, battery-based energy storage capacity in this country.

Image via Duke Energy

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