Avista Receives Grant for Smart Grid Battery Storage Research
July 9, 2014 /3BL Media/ - A $3.2 million grant from Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Commerce will help Avista invest in research to address one of the biggest challenges facing the energy industry – how to integrate power generated from intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar into the electrical grid.
Inslee announced more than $14 million in smart grid matching grants from the governor’s Clean Energy Fund will be used by Avista, Puget Sound Energy and Snohomish PUD to better understand how to capture, store and distribute renewable energy from wind and solar. See http://governor.wa.gov/news/releases/article.aspx?id=292.
“Today’s investment in the exciting possibilities of battery storage technology represents a significant step forward in helping create our energy future,” said Avista’s Vice President of Energy Delivery Don Kopczynski. “The challenge with energy is that as soon as it’s produced, it must be used immediately. That makes it difficult to plan ahead to supply the energy our customers need with renewable energy if the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. We believe that battery storage could be the missing piece in this puzzle.”
Avista will use the grant money to install a large-scale energy storage battery system in a substation in Pullman, Washington. These batteries will store power when it’s abundant, for example when the wind is blowing. The battery power can then be distributed when it’s needed, regardless of wind speed or weather patterns.
Power from battery storage is available almost instantaneously – within 50 milliseconds, versus 10 to 15 minutes it takes to fire up a natural gas combustion turbine. This rapid response-time provides the flexibility required to quickly react to a sudden drop in power supply or increase in demand.
“Energy will be there – when we need it. And the quality of energy will be available to run the technology that is so essential to our lives,” Kopczynski added. “Being on the leading-edge of smart grid research like this strategically aligns with Avista’s 125 year legacy of innovation. We’re continually investing to modernize our grid and build a strong foundation for our energy future.”
Over the past several years, Avista has invested more than $80 million of combined Avista and federal matching funds to improve reliability, reduce losses and automate activities that have traditionally been performed manually. Avista customers are experiencing fewer and shorter power outages as a result of these investments.