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Smart grid pilot project headed to Pennsylvania

By Donna Donnawitz
June 22, 2012
The East Penn Manufacturing Company is working with Ecoult on a smart grid pilot project that could contribute to the increased use of renewable resources. According to a recent Renew Grid report, the pilot will include the installation of multiple Deka UltraBatteries that can be used to store energy created by solar panels and wind turbines.

The news source explained that the UltraBatteries will be used to deliver 3 megawatts of power to the PJM Interconnection. This will be accomplished through energy delivered as a continuous frequency-regulation solution. Met-Ed, the local utility provider, will also take advantage of the pilot project, using the battery system to acquire peak demand services.

The new battery system will be housed at an East Penn Manufacturing facility in Lyon Station, Pennsylvania, the report said. The configuration of the setup will allow the solution to function as either a building-based or containerized system, providing greater insight into how the battery solution can operate in a variety of circumstances.

John Wood, CEO of Ecoult, told the news source that UltraBattery technology has the potential to contribute to considerable gains in the smart grid industry.

"As well as contributing to grid stability via regulation services, UltraBattery technology is also being implemented at wind and solar generation sites to control ramp rate of renewable output directly, facilitating the integration of renewable energy into the grid," Wood told Renew Grid.

Battery-powered systems are vital to the future of the smart grid as a tool for enabling renewable resources. As part of its core nature, smart grid is capable of enabling renewable energy use by providing more detailed real-time data about power use. Because of this, utility vendors can better understand what power demands will be at any time and regulate renewable energy deliver to meet those requirements.

The problem with this is that wind and solar power are volatile. As a result, utility providers cannot easily predict when energy will be available. Therefore, batteries are essential to storing solar and wind power so the smart grid has a consistent energy source to tap into, taking full advantage of the amount of electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines.

Essentially, wind and solar power is generated based entirely on natural conditions. Battery systems ensure that electricity created at any time can be stored until it can be used, making the most of renewable energy sources and furthering the inherent capabilities of smart grid systems.

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