CATS: Tehachapi-area project for storing energy North America’s largest

Number 31 in the Clean Air Technologies Series.

One of the great advances – in my opinion – in the area of automation, is the rechargeable battery – specifically, the application thereof.

In the motorcar realm, the battery is what enables such vehicles to keep on keepin’ on, as the expression goes, by holding a charge. Should such a battery’s charge become depleted (consistent with a car-charging system’s failure to recharge said battery, as just one example), via an auxiliary source, such as a battery recharger or a second motorcar via jumper cables, the original, depleted battery can, as it were, be recharged.

So, thinking about applications where storage batteries can be employed, one that doesn’t typically come to mind is in the wind turbine world. But that may soon change.

Enter wind turbines and battery storage.

158px-Turbine_aalborg[1]Southern California Edison’s (SCE) roughly $50 million demonstration Tehachapi Energy Storage Project is comprised of a “32-megawatt-hours battery storage system” that “features lithium-ion batteries housed inside a 6,300 square-foot facility at SCE’s Monolith substation in Tehachapi, Calif.,” SCE in its Sept. 24, 2014 “SCE Unveils Largest Battery Energy Storage Project in North America” news release wrote. “The project is strategically located in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area that is projected to generate up to 4,500 MW [megawatts] of wind energy by 2016.”

The company moreover stated: “Over a two-year period, the project will demonstrate the performance of the lithium-ion batteries in actual system conditions and the capability to automate the operations of the battery energy storage system and integrate its use into the utility grid.”

Upon completion of the trial, if successful, demonstrated, obviously, will be the efficacy of the bank of lithium-ion batteries for its ability to store energy. In addition to that, another primary goal of the project is to prove the effectiveness of “smarter inverter technologies for improved grid performance and to assist in the integration of variable renewable energy resources like wind and solar power,” SCE emphasized.

This is the largest such project of its kind anywhere in North America, the company in the news release stressed.

For more on Tehachapi-based energy generation and storage, see: “Gravity train: Clean-energy generation need not be an ‘uphill’ battle.”

– Alan Kandel