Kentucky power plant becomes energy storage testing ground
Meeting energy demands of the future means exploring the viability of various technologies today. In its latest research project, Louisville Gas and Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. is launching a new Energy Storage Research and Demonstration Site at its E.W. Brown Generating Station near Harrodsburg in Mercer County.
The project, which was developed in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), became operational in January 2017 and will allow the utilities to develop, test, and evaluate the potential benefits of utility-scale battery technologies, and investigate operating needs and associated costs.
Additionally, researchers will be able to use the site to advance control technologies, increase value gained from storage, and determine solutions to integration challenges for energy storage on the electric grid.
The site includes three testing bays for energy storage technologies, each able to house up to one megawatt of storage, resulting in a total hosting capacity of up to three megawatts of energy storage. The first energy storage system installed on the site consists of a one megawatt lithium-ion battery system, a one megawatt smart power inverter and an advanced control system. This storage system was custom-engineered for the site and can support a number of advanced control functions and use cases during testing.
“The Energy Storage Research and Demonstration Site is unique among other sites in the utility industry because it provides us a testbed for evaluating multiple utility-scale energy storage technologies at the same time,” said Dr. David Link, manager of Research and Development for LG&E and KU.
Testing multiple storage technologies at one time will allow researchers to assess how the individual systems operate and any potential grid integration challenges as the systems work together, simulating these technologies operating at the same time on the electric grid.