IOU to add 500 MW of storage over next 15 years
Instead of rebuilding about 20 miles of T&D poles and wires, Arizona Public Service (APS) will install two battery storage systems in rural Punkin Center, Az, making it one of the first electricity companies in the US to use batteries in place of traditional infrastructure, the utility said yesterday. A pair of 4-MWH Advancion batteries from AES Energy Storage will be used and construction will start this fall and be finished next year.
"This project is a crucial step in the right direction for Arizona's energy future," said APS Director of Transmission & Distribution Technology Innovation & Integration Scott Bordenkircher in prepared remarks. "Over the next 15 years, APS has plans to add 500 MW of storage capacity.
"This project is indicative of the type of smart grid APS envisions for customers, one that enables people to have more technology in their own homes."
APS uses batteries now to store excess solar power, the firm said, after the sun goes down, at peak times and for other functions such as voltage support. The new project is unique in that the primary function of the storage is basic grid operation, it added.
To reliably serve new customers in the growing community of Punkin Center, APS was faced with rebuilding 20 miles of power lines over rough terrain. A review of the community's needs showed adding battery storage would provide added benefits at a similar cost to rebuilding the lines, the firm said.
"We are watching as the prices come down on battery technology," said Bordenkircher. "Thoughtful implementation of battery storage is key to its future success. For a community like Punkin Center, the rural location, reduced implementation costs and added technological benefits make it the perfect candidate for this technology."
The batteries will increase power reliability to serve the community of 600 residents, located about 90 minutes northeast of downtown Phoenix. The project will have the ability to add energy capacity as the need arises over the next five-10 years, the firm said.
APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona's 15 counties, the firm said. It is the Southwest's foremost producer of clean, safe and reliable power, it added, via a balanced energy mix that is nearly half carbon-free.
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