APS begins Flagstaff energy storage testing

Arizona Public Service Company began testing a new 1.5megawatt-hour energy storage system. The system can generate the equivalent power output of 300,000 cell phone batteries or 1,200 hybrid cars and is the size of a shipping container. APS hopes that the two-year pilot in Flagstaff, Arizona will determine the benefits of storing electricity to put on the grid when most needed. The study will focus on how equipment stress can be decreased on days with a higher demand and how solar energy can be provided in hours without sunlight. APS Director of Energy Innovation, Barbara Lockwood believes that the pilot “has great potential to change some of the ways we deliver energy in the future.”
This year, the Electrovava Inc.-designed energy storage system will be located in an electrical distribution substation and will be relocated a few miles away to support a solar power plant. The system will store energy when it is inexpensive and the electricity is at lower capacity flowing through the substation equipment. At times of higher demand when electricity is more expensive to produce and purchase and the equipment is at maximum capacity, the company will be able to dispatch the stored energy. This constant flow of energy can help during unplanned outages by allowing the dispatch of the stored energy while repairs are made and the steadier flow on peak days could keep equipment in better condition longer. Once located at the 500-kilowatt Doney Park Renewable Energy solar power plant site, the system will reduce the irregularity of solar power generation to help get more renewable energy onto the power grid. The Doney Park center is part of the APS Community Power Project; a US3.3 million U.S. Department of Energy awarded grant to study the effects of a high concentration go solar energy in a single neighborhood. The study also includes the use of rooftop solar panels on a local elementary school and the homes of 125 APS customers.
APS is also studying other energy innovation pilots in Flagstaff, including a self-healing/self-isolating grid pilot and a distribution fault anticipation pilot that will help predict and manage system faults to reduce outages and speed up repair.
APS is the largest and longest-serving electricity utility in the state serving more than 1.1million customers.
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