New battery storage systems help bring energy stability to rural Alaska
CORDOVA, Alaska On Friday, June 9, 2019, Cordova had a ribbon cutting for their new 500 kW Battery Energy Storage System and energy leaders from Washington D.C. and Alaska were there to celebrate the new system.
One of the first projects of this kind in Alaska was GVEA’s battery energy storage system commissioned in 2002, when it was the largest in the world.
“A lot of people are probably unaware that Golden Valley has one of the world’s largest battery energy storage systems, and when it was installed, and for several years afterwards, it was the largest one in the world, with the most power and power capacity,” Dan Bishop, manager of engineering services for GVEA.
Energy storage is becoming more accessible for communities as the prices go down and technology improves, and 17 years later, Cordova is commissioning their own battery energy system with a newer lithium ion battery and utilizing it to get closer to being 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
“We hope and I’m quite sure that the success of this project and because of some of the ongoing work with the Department of Energy, that we’re going to learn lessons here that we can share with others in Alaska and across the country, as they engage in similar projects, to make sure we have a bright energy future for our country,” said Clay Koplin, CEO of Cordova Electric Cooperative.
Jeremy Vandermeer with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power worked with Cordova to determine what type of energy system worked best for their remote community.
“In Alaska we are a leader in terms of these small micro grid systems, and the amount of renewable energy that we can put on these systems, we’re leading the world on that.”
Imre Gyuk, director of the energy storage program for the office of electricity, with the Department of Energy, says that people around the country and world will be looking to Cordova’s project.
“I not only hope, but I am almost certain that Cordova is going to be an example for coastal communities in Alaska, and things that other communities will like to not copy, but have their own version of, using whatever local conditions prevail,” said Gyuk.