Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the California Energy Commission unveiled a battery energy storage system pilot project in San Jose, Calif., to better balance power needs of the electric grid.
The Yerba Buena Battery Energy Storage System Pilot Project charges batteries when demand is low and then sends reserved power to the grid when demand grows. The system has the potential to balance energy supply and demand and to support greater integration of intermittent renewable generation.
The project was made possible by a $3.3 million grant from the Energy Commission to PG&E that will help fund the installation and evaluation of the system.
The smart grid project is a utility-scale sodium-sulfur battery energy storage project. It has a 4 MW capacity, and can store more than six hours of energy.
PG&E is working closely with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to study sodium-sulfur battery energy storage. EPRI’s reports will be made available to the public.
S&C Electric Company is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project and supplied the storage management system and power conversion equipment that control the battery’s AC input/output and its interface with the electric grid.
NGK Insulators is the manufacturer of the sodium sulfur battery system, which includes the battery modules and control system for managing DC input/output and other parameters for maximizing module longevity.
“Energy storage demonstrations like the Yerba Buena battery storage system in San Jose will improve efficiency and reliability in the electricity supply and facilitate the integration of clean, intermittent renewable resources, such as solar and wind, within the electrical grid,” said Energy Commission Chair Robert Weisenmiller, in a statement.
Ironically, distributed solar may be a big threat to PG&A, which is losing customers to the alternative energy.