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Federal Research Spurs Washington State to Store Energy

August 20, 2014 By Karen Henry

UET-energy-manageWashington state Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Department of Commerce announced that three Washington state utilities have been awarded $14.3 million in matching grants from the state’s Clean Energy Fund to lead energy storage projects with ties to federally funded research at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Two of the winning utilities will install UniEnergy Technologies (UET) Uni.System all-vanadium redox flow batteries as part of their projects. PNNL developed the battery technology with six years of funding from DOE’s Grid Storage Program.

The Uni.System is a modular, factory-integrated, plug and play grid-scale energy storage system. It includes five, 20-foot standard containers requiring only a concrete pad and interconnection that provide 500 kW of power for four hours, with power up to 600 kW and energy up to 2.2 MWh.

To support these projects, PNNL has worked with the state, utilities, technology companies and university researchers to develop detailed case descriptions of the various ways energy storage can increase renewable energy use and improve grid efficiency and resiliency. The utilities will consult these cases as they implement and evaluate their individual projects.

The three energy-storage projects 
include:

  • Avista Utilities of Spokane, Wash., was awarded $3.2 million. Its project includes installing a UET flow battery in Pullman, Wash., to support Washington State University’s smart campus operations. PNNL will collaborate with WSU to develop a control strategy for this project. Avista is participating in the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project and previously received a DOE Smart Grid Investment Grant.
  • Puget Sound Energy of Bellevue, Wash., was awarded $3.8 million. Its project includes installing a lithium-ion battery. As part of a previous project that was jointly funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, Primus Power, Puget Sound Energy and DOE, PNNL analyzed the costs and benefits associated with installing energy storage at various sites within PSE’s service territory.
  • Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1 of Everett, Wash., was awarded $7.3 million. Its project includes installing a UET flow battery and a lithium-ion battery. This project builds on experience gained and equipment and technologies installed with a DOE Smart Grid Investment Grant.


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