Short Lifespan Grid Energy Storage, Short Sighted?


“More pie in the sky to reach into customers’ pocketbooks. The concept requires one expensive intermittent source, renewable energy, to be backed by another expensive dependent and interruptible source which requires fossil sources to recharge it. This is starting to look like a Rube Golderberg set up but it is not funny because the customer takes it on the chin again just like what is happening with the $300 million Brookhaven solar project which generates just 10 MW a day on average. They say that when you find yourself in a deep hole stop digging. Maybe someone should pass the message on to LIPA. “ 

400 megawatt battery proposed for LIPA

Originally published: July 3, 2011 11:26 PM
Updated: July 4, 2011 3:08 PM
By MARK HARRINGTON  NEWSDAYA 20-megawatt battery currently operating in Johnson City,

Photo credit: AES Energy Storage, LLC | A 20-megawatt battery currently operating in Johnson City, NY.

Energizer Bunny, step aside.

A Virginia-based company is proposing to build the country’s largest battery — one capable of storing as much energy as a large power plant — on Long Island in response to LIPA’s bid to upgrade local power sources.

AES Energy Storage, based in Arlington, said it has submitted a proposal to build a bank of batteries capable of storing 400 megawatts of power for Long Island — enough to power tens of thousands of homes.

If LIPA approves it, it would eliminate the need to build another plant or lay an undersea cable. The lithium-based batteries would recharge using existing power plants or cables, powering up at night when the cost is cheapest.

Power would come from the most efficient and lowest-cost sources such as Caithness power plant or Neptune Cable while they are idle. The batteries would then offer the cheap power to fill peak daylight demands, AES executives said.

The 400-megawatt battery would release no emissions, other than the clean energy used for recharging, and could be distributed around the Island to help reduce peaks in heavy “load pockets” of energy use. “This could be more valuable in multiple locations,” said John Zahurancik, AES’ vice president for deployment and operations.

The cost would be competitive with existing power plants, he said. The company operates a 20-megawatt battery in upstate Johnson City and a 32-megawatt system in West Virginia. If LIPA accepts AES’ bid, it would be running by 2016.

LIPA is fielding 45 bids after a request for proposals for 2,500 megawatts of power, as the contract for 17 plants owned by National Grid, generating about 4,000 megawatts, ends in 2013. Sixteen different companies submitted proposals that include cables, plants and even a large offshore wind-energy platform.

A LIPA spokeswoman declined to comment.

Battery storage is gaining favor in an increasingly renewable world. Last year, Mexico announced a contract with a Dubai-based company to install a 1,000-megawatt energy storage system. Six years ago, Fairbanks, Alaska, paid about $35 million to a Swiss company for a 40-megawatt battery.

AES declined to say how much the LIPA battery would cost, but assuming a cost of around $1 million a megawatt, it would be around $400 million, excluding the cost of power to recharge the batteries.

Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a green energy advocate, said LIPA is eventually going to require storage capacity like AES’ as more renewable energy sources, like solar and wind come on line.

“It’s something that’s very much needed,” he said, noting that intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar need a place to store their energy when not needed on the grid. It also helps provide backup when renewable sources aren’t available, such as solar at night or during heavy storms. The 400-megawatt capacity, he noted, “is a good chunk. . . . It’s certainly something LIPA should consider.”

The recyclable batteries are sealed in leakproof containers and don’t require venting like typical lead-acid batteries used in cars.

AES expects the batteries to occupy 6 to 20 acres of land and either be “containerized systems with perimeter privacy fencing or industrial-park type buildings.” The proposed location, or multiple locations, haven’t been set.

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About lipaoversight

LIPA Oversight Committee was created to analyze the rates and practices to determine if it is working in the best interests of the Suffolk County ratepayers
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2 Responses to Short Lifespan Grid Energy Storage, Short Sighted?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t want to confuse anyone with FACTS, but the basics of LIPA are as follows:…. LIPA buys all the power it resells to us under long-term contracts and on an as-needed basis from (mostly old and inefficient) generating plants on-Island, and from off-Island sources including hydropower, nuclear, and fossil-fuel generated electric power.

    It is required by State regulatory agencies to buy the cheapest available and deliverable power. The most expensive, and last-to-be-purchased power bought to satisfy extreme demand on hot summer afternoons can cost LIPA two, three or more times what the baseload power costs. And LIPA passes that extra cost on to us. Further, off-Island purchases are limited by the carrying capacity of the two underwater cables to Long Island from Connecticut and New Jersey.

    The total energy and peak power used here (“demand”) has increased as our population grew and we all accumulated more electronic devices. This would eventually force LIPA to contract for more power generation plants and beef up its transmission system to handle the greater load – both expensive propositions. And all of us ratepayers would get stuck paying for that.

    There are other, less expensive options, which LIPA is pursuing:
    - They are using subsidies to encourage people and businesses to install more efficient appliances and lighting in order to keep down peak demand;
    - They adding their own subsidy to Federal tax credits to encourage the installation of rooftop solar, which produces electricity close to the point of use and close in time to the late afternoon peak air conditioning demand.

    The large 400 MW “battery” could let LIPA buy less expensive power at night and store it up until it’s needed to meet high demand from summer afternoon air conditioner use, when it could be put back into the system. LIPA would be “stockpiling” power, just the way we buy consumable items on sale in discount stores and put them away until we need them. If it can do this, it can actually save LIPA customers money on their bills AND prevent the need to operate the oldest, most polluting generating plants on Long Island when they are needed to meet peak demand.

    Peter Gollon
    Sierra Club Energy Chair.

  2. Freedom says:

    I have news for you, every time energy is transmitted, or changed in form [from AC to DC and then back to AC] there are huge energy losses, which cost a lot more than the theoretical energy saved by buying it when it may be cheaper. We also are getting too dependent on outside sources of energy which you greenies are driving up the price of. We need energy from the mainland which is going up IN PRICE due to the closing of coal plants due to your evil, power hungry EPA. We need to produce power on LI instead of counting on others. When push comes to shove and the outside entities need the power they promised to us, they will keep it and we’ll be in the dark. Of course that is the dream of you greenies isn’t it. Disband LIPA, their projects like the Superconductor, DVAR’s, and Solar are costing us ratepayers a fortune in building costs and huge maintenance costs while giving us virtually nothing!

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