Wärtsilä, the massive marine and power plant specialist, is introducing its new modular energy storage product in a deployment that allows the city of Martinsville, Virginia to lower its power costs and stabilize the surrounding grid.
An independent power producer, AEP OnSite Partners, will be the first to deploy Wärtsilä’s new storage product. The 9 MW/15.6 MWh battery energy storage system will respond to PJM market signals and reduce the city’s peak demand by about 9 MW, while saving $1 million per year in transmission and capacity costs, according to the company. The project is scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2021.
This municipal energy storage deployment saves money in the same way as behind-the-meter energy storage saves money for the enterprise — through demand-charge reduction.
PJM also provides compensation for resources that can adjust output or consumption in response to an automated dynamic “RegD” signal which is controlled by the company’s GEMS energy management software.
The company claims the new system has a denser watt-hour per square-foot design that makes for a smaller footprint and a reduction in life cycle costs.
“We have the capability to assist power providers to integrate energy storage microgrids and to increase their share of solar and wind energy,” added John Hoeft, senior business development manager at Wärtsilä.
Hoeft added that the system includes safety features such as UL9540A tested lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, a 60-minute enclosure fire rating, fire detection and a selection of fire suppression methods. The battery system is water cooled and uses batteries from CATL.
Hoeft said the company was “battery-technology agnostic” but LFM has “superior thermal runaway” behavior and price point compared to other battery technologies.
According to reporting in The Martinsville Bulletin, the battery facility will be constructed at no cost to the city — “AEP will construct, own and operate that $8.35 million facility at its expense, and for the use of the property, Martinsville will receive 10% of the savings until the cost of the capital and investment have been recovered.”
Then the split will be 50/50 and “the benefit over the life of the project should be $3.6 million.”
The city also has a bifacial solar farm in the planning stages.
Wärtsilä’s entry into battery systems stems from its $170 million acquisition of Greensmith and its energy storage optimization and integration software in 2017. There was a wave of conglomerates and utilities acquiring small energy storage firms at that time.
Wärtsilä has delivered 72 GW of power plant capacity in 180 countries. In 2019, Wärtsilä’s net sales totaled $6.1 billion.
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