Deferring T&D Investment with Battery Storage at APS

Andrea Derby - Monday, August 14, 2017

Last week, Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) announced that it plans to install battery storage systems to augment a small but growing rural community's power supply instead of rebuilding 20 miles of lines to increase their capacity. This plan means APS is one of the first electricity companies in the US to employ batteries instead of building traditional transmission and distribution infrastructure. Almost all of the current utility-scale storage systems are providing grid-balancing or renewables integration - or both - rather than being seen as an alternative to transmission and distribution infrastructure spending.

The choice to install two 1-megawatt/4-megawatt-hour storage systems from AES was actually less expensive than the traditional approach of upgrading the 20 miles of 21-kilovolt cables that service the town. This is partly because upgrading the lines would have required construction through hilly and mountainous terrain, with considerable expense and local disruption. In addition, the costs of battery technology continue to drop.
Construction of the two battery storage system is set to start in the fall in Punkin Center, Arizona which has a population of 600 residents and is 53 miles northeast of Phoenix. The battery project will be built with the capability to boost its energy capacity if necessary over the next five to 10 years. The 4-MWh battery storage systems are expected to be operational by early 2018.
According to APS, the batteries will be needed 20 to 30 days annually to provide additional power during high demand periods, such as summer late afternoons and early evenings when air conditioning load is high. Existing lines serving Punkin Center will feed electricity to the batteries at night when demand is low. And if something changes, APS can move the batteries to another location.
This is a great test business case to show that storage can be an economical choice to defer other infrastructure investments. And I hope, that as these batteries are used in the next couple of years, we’ll all learn more about the benefits of battery storage as the grid applications for battery technology increase while battery technology costs continue to decrease. We are getting closer to that economic tipping point for battery storage and it’s so exciting!

Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.