Wind Energy, Storage Combined In Coal Country

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.


image via John Terry/

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.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).


  • Reply November 8, 2011


    Perhaps yoiu should be sharing information that this project has already killed nearly 500 birds…nn.n

    • Reply November 8, 2011


      Thank you for bringing this to the attention of those reading this story.

      • Reply November 8, 2011


        Thank you…I hope you will spend some look at the mess industrial wind has created. Without a basket of tax goodies, loans, grants, tax incentives, broken promises of employment, industrial wind end.u00a0 AES walks away from this project with some $80 million dollars and some change.u00a0 Some 15% of AES is owned by China.u00a0 nnWhat is amazing after the bird kill, AES has diverted the readers attention to battery storage. nnLet me suggest to your readers:u00a0

  • Reply November 8, 2011

    John Terry

    All the fanfare for AES Laurel Mountain may be misplaced. Just because the words battery and wind farm appear in the same press release does not mean that excess electricity can be stored for a rainy day. nThe larger story here is in the accompanying photo I took this past March of the destruction that was underway of eleven miles of productive, forested West Virginia ridge top. Other photos at the Va Wind site credited under the photo show the results of blasting and earth removal even better. Laurel Mountain is in a region with poor to mediocre wind resources. To add insult to injury, in October, shortly after beginning operation, the AES Laurel Mountain facility set a record by killing 484 migrating birds in a single evening. The wind farm is expected to be standing and killing for twenty years.nJohn Terry

  • Reply November 13, 2011


    very well 🙂

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