Battery storage springs to life at retired Duke Energy coal plant

Beckjord Station

Duke Energy, LG Chem and Greensmith are bringing energy storage technology to the site of a 1952 retired coal plant, announcing the completion of a 2 MW battery-based energy storage system designed to increase reliability and stability on the electric power grid.

The fast-response system is now actively regulating electric grid frequency for PJM, the regional transmission organization that directs the flow of electricity for 61 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Construction began in August 2015, at Duke Energy’s retired W.C. Beckjord coal-fired power plant in New Richmond, Ohio, and the system began operations on Nov. 17.

“Locating the storage system at our retired coal plant allowed us to take advantage of the grid infrastructure already in place and repurpose the site for use with new, relevant technology,” said Phil Grigsby, Duke Energy’s senior vice president of Commercial Transmission. “This system is another step for Duke in the development of turnkey energy storage solutions that benefit customers and also demonstrate the potential for future applications, such as large-scale integration of renewable energy onto the grid.”

Improving the reliability and economic efficiency of the electric grid provides a unique service to grid operators. As customer demand fluctuates, accurate and rapid-response energy storage can instantaneously absorb excess energy from the grid or release energy in seconds — as opposed to a power plant that could take 10 minutes or more to ramp up.

LG Chem delivered the project’s integrated operating system, comprised of advanced lithium-ion batteries.

“LG Chem is pleased to deliver this system to Duke Energy for critical grid functions,” said Sunghoon Jang, senior vice president of LG Chem’s Energy Storage Solutions business unit. “Beckjord 2 is the latest example of how LG Chem is meeting customer needs by rapidly deploying energy storage systems for critical, real-world applications.”

Greensmith provided its latest GEMS energy storage software platform to manage the system’s performance for PJM frequency regulation, ensuring precise and synchronized response to signals dispatched every two seconds.

“Maximizing an energy storage system’s frequency regulation score while minimizing battery degradation throughout the system’s life is no trivial task,” said Greensmith CEO John Jung. “However, our GEMS frequency regulation software module enables Duke to achieve superior PJM performance scoring while extending the life of the batteries, thereby helping them increase the long-term value of their energy storage investment.” 

Greensmith's scope also included the design and configuration of the entire energy storage system, integration of the balance of plant components and site commissioning.

Parker Hannifin provided a 2 MW power conversion inverter.

The 2 MW project adds to Duke Energy’s installed base of commercially operating energy storage systems. With the completion of the new project, the company will operate a total of 4 MW of energy storage at Beckjord, where a separate 2 MW battery system already exists. Duke Energy also owns and operates a 36 MW energy storage system at its Notrees Windpower Project in Texas.

According to independent research firm IHS, Energy Duke Energy owns nearly 15 percent of the grid-connected, battery-based energy storage capacity in the U.S.

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