Dominion Energy has filed with the State Corporation Commission for approval to invest in 16 megawatts of battery-storage pilot projects costing $33 million. As the company expands its solar fleet, currently the 4th largest of any utility holding company in the country, Dominion said, it is looking for “new and innovative ways” to store renewable energy and maintain reliable electric service.
“Energy storage is critical to providing continued reliability for our customers as we expand our renewable portfolio,” Mark D. Mitchell, vice president-generation construction, said in a press release. “Battery storage has made significant strides in recent years, in both efficiency and cost. These pilot projects will enable Dominion Energy to better understand how best to deploy batteries to help overcome the inherent fluctuation of wind and solar energy sources.”
Battery storage could become an alternative to traditional upgrades of grid equipment such as transformers, added Joe Woomer, vice president-grid & technical solutions. “Battery storage has the potential to serve a key role in maintaining reliable service for our customers as we work to integrate renewables and improve grid resiliency.”
Two battery systems totaling 12 megawatts at the Scott Solar facility in Powhatan County will demonstrate how batteries can store energy from solar panels during periods of high production and release energy when load is high or generation is low. A 2-megawatt battery at an Ashland substation will explore how batteries can improve reliability and substitute for transformer upgrades. A 2-megawatt battery at a New Kent County substation will test how batteries can help manage voltage and loading issues caused by reverse energy flow.
In other news, Dominion issues a Request for Proposals for up to 500 megawatts of solar and onshore wind generation.
Bacon’s bottom line: Maintaining grid reliability is essential as Dominion increases its commitment to intermittent sources of energy such as solar and wind power. Battery storage is commonly viewed as an essential technology for offsetting fluctuating generation. One big issue is how successfully batteries can be integrated into the grid. Another is how much they will add to the cost. While solar and wind now can generate electricity at a lower cost than fossil fuels or nuclear, the necessity of coupling intermittent energy sources with battery storage elevates the cost of managing the distribution grid. Dominion needs to ramp up the learning curve for working with batteries, so I expect imagine that the SCC will approve these projects despite the significant cost.There are currently no comments highlighted.