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NEC Energy Solutions wins US grid battery contract

United States: NEC Energy Solutions (NEC ES), part of Japanese conglomerate NEC Corporation, is supplying its turnkey battery energy storage systems to projects on the east and west coasts of America.

SCE's 32MW lithium ion battery storage system in Tehachapi, California (pic: SCE)
SCE's 32MW lithium ion battery storage system in Tehachapi, California (pic: SCE)

Southern California Edison (SCE) awarded NEC ES the first contract under the utility’s "plug-and-play" procurement plan to demonstrate how battery storage can support the distribution grid.

Under the terms of the programme, NEC ES has built a battery storage system pre-configured with various applications that SCE can choose in advance of any specific details of the installation site, or other information typically required to provide firm fixed pricing on energy storage.

"Using best practices and past experience, NEC ES was able to provide pricing and configurations under the conditions expected by NEC and SCE, and show this listing in a manner that allowed SCE to rapidly select and fast-track procurement of the necessary energy storage system," said NEC ES chief executive Bud Collins.  

The system includes 3MW/3.4MWh of lithium ion batteries, enclosures, thermal management, a 3MW power conversion system and controls compatible with SCE’s Scada software, integrated within a full turnkey energy storage system.

The utility will own and operate the battery under the terms of its programme.

The grid battery will be installed within SCE’s service area on a 12kV circuit, although the exact location has not been disclosed. The distribution circuit that has been chosen risks being overloaded, so would require upgrading at some point. The energy storage facility will be used to defer this investment by performing a load-limiting — similar to peak shaving — function.

"This is not the only system, but is the first of many other systems planned," said Collins.

NEC ES will also provide service and maintenance. "Operations and maintenance work is minimal, requiring a half-yearly routine check of the heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) system used to maintain optimal environment for the batteries and primary electrical connection checks," he said.

In October NEC ES announced another deal in the US, to supply the Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) in Massachusetts with a 2MW/3.9MWh grid battery.

When completed before the end of 2016, the plant will improve grid resiliency against power outages caused by severe winter storms

The energy storage system will work in conjunction with the overall installed base of rooftop PV solar, which has been increasing in Sterling, to provide energy resiliency for critical departments including the police and fire service departments.

The storage system will also allow SMLD to save on transmission capacity charges, through reducing peak demand, savings that will be passed on to local energy consumers.

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