West Virginia is Coal Country, but wind energy is making inroads there – with cutting-edge energy-storage capabilities, to boot. AES has announced the completion and full-scale commercial operation of its Laurel Mountain wind power plant. The 98-megawatt (MW) plant consists of 61 GE 1.6-MW wind turbine generators situated along a 13-mile stretch of Laurel Mountain near Elkins, W.Va. But what makes this project unique is its 32 MW of battery-based energy storage – the largest advanced energy storage project of its kind.
The battery bank will allow the wind farm to smooth fluctuations in power generation, and help maintain the reliability of the power grid. The plant will supply more than 260,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy and operating reserve capacity each year to the PJM Interconnection, the largest power market in the world.
Arlington, Va.- based AES operates more than 1,900 MW of wind capacity in the United States, China and Europe. The company has 72 MW of grid-scale storage resources in operation and construction, and more than 500 MW of advanced energy storage projects in development. The Laurel Mountain storage facility is more than double the size of any of its previous projects, including an 8-MW battery system in the New York Independent System Operator market and a 12-MW frequency regulation and spinning reserve solution at AES Gener’s Los Andes substation in Chile.
“Energy storage technology is the silver bullet that helps resolve the variability in power demand,” said Terry Boston, PJM president and CEO. “Combining wind and solar with storage provides the greatest benefit to grid operations and has the potential to achieve the greatest economic value.”