Lockheed Martin to provide flow battery for 103 MW Alberta solar + storage project


Lockheed Martin announced that it will be providing its GridStar Flow battery technology to TC Energy’s Saddlebrook Solar + Storage Project, set to be constructed in Alberta, Canada.

The Saddlebrook Solar + Storage Project will consist of a 102.5 MW solar facility using bifacial modules, paired with a GridStar Flow battery energy storage system, that will be up to 6.5 MW/52 MWh in capacity. This pilot project is expected to be the largest flow battery energy storage facility in Alberta and will aid the region’s sustainability and decarbonization efforts.

Flow batteries are electrochemical storage devices that use reusable, externally stored electrolytes, which generally leads to them being less expensive, safer, more flexible and adaptable when compared to lithium-ion, as well as being able to discharge their electricity over a longer duration, in this instance 8 hours.

Phase one of the project, which pertains to the solar installation is expected to begin construction in Q2 2022, and reach commercial operation in Q4 2022. The battery system is expected to follow just over a year later, commencing installation in Q2 2023 and achieving operation in Q1 2024.

The installation will also be the subject of research, conducted by the University of Calgary, Lockheed Martin, and TC Energy, to demonstrate the effectiveness of a large-scale solar plus storage generation facility and inform similar sustainable energy projects across Canada.

Alberta has, of late, become Canada’s solar hotbed. Westbridge Energy Corporation recently acquired a 75% controlling interest in Sunnynook Solar Energy, the company developing a 236 MW solar and 100 MW battery energy storage system (BESS) project in Alberta. Westbridge has also initiated two BESS projects in Alberta, set to total 200 MW in capacity, and the 230 MW Georgetown Solar Project, though that installation is being built in Calgary.

The Canadian Renewable Energy Association expects close to 2 GW of wind and solar projects to begin construction or complete installation before the end of the year.

Alongside the battery, Lockheed Martin is also investing $9 million (USD) toward the development and construction of the Saddlebrook Solar + Storage Project. The investment is associated with Canada’s purchase and in-service support of 17 CC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force from 2010 through 2012.

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