Wind, batteries work together in WV to deliver clean, steady power

Ninety-eight megawatts of wind energy is nothing to sneeze at, but it becomes even more impressive when coupled with 32 megawatts of integrated energy storage.

Those are figures that apply to AES Laurel Mountain, a wind-energy/battery-based energy storage project that began commercial operation in West Virginia this week. The project was developed by the AES Corporation with the help of the power company’s wind generation and energy storage business units.

The plant is providing both renewable energy and flexible operating reserve capacity to the PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization with 167 gigawatts of capacity serving some 51 million customers in the eastern and midwestern US. (That makes it the largest competitive wholesale power market in the world.)

“Energy storage technology is the silver bullet that helps resolve the variability in power demand,” said Terry Boston, president and CEO of PJM. “Combining wind and solar with storage provides the greatest benefit to grid operations and has the potential to achieve the greatest economic value.”

The 32-megawatt energy storage project, the largest of its kind, uses advanced batteries to store energy and help keep grid operations smooth. The energy storage can help provide a regulation service that matches grid generation and demand, as well as adjusting power to deal with minute-to-minute fluctuations in wind-energy output.

The combination of technologies makes AES Laurel Mountain one of the first wind-energy plants to supply critical operating reserve capacity to help maintain the reliability of the power grid.

“The Laurel Mountain project is a unique application of wind and battery storage technology combining clean energy production with state-of-the-art grid support services,” said Phil Herrington, president of Global Wind Generation for AES.

The project features 61 GE 1.6-megawatt wind turbines along with energy storage devices from A123 Systems.

“The Laurel Mountain storage facility is more than double the size of our previous projects, demonstrating our ability to scale up this advanced power resource,” said Chris Shelton, president of AES Energy Storage.

AES currently has more than 500 megawatts of advanced energy storage projects in development, including an 8-megawatt battery system in the New York Independent System Operator market and a 12-megawatt frequency regulation and spinning reserve project at AES Gener’s Los Andes substation in Chile. Laurel Mountain is also AES Wind Generation’s second wind-power plant to serve the PJM market; the first, AES Armenia Mountain, is located in Pennsylvania.

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