Hawaii Wind Farm Gets Battery Backup

A123 Systems, a Massachusetts-based developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries, has announced that it will supply a 11-megawatt (MW) Grid Battery System to Sempra Generation for use at its Auwahi Wind project in Maui, Hawaii. Power from the 21-megawatt (MW) Auwahi Wind project will be purchased by Maui Electric Company under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

The energy storage solution, which is capable of delivering up to 11 MW of power in milliseconds, will help Maui Electric Company maintain the stability of Maui’s electric grid by smoothing the variable generation of wind power at the facility, A123 said. This announcement follows soon on the heels of the installation of 32 MW of battery storage at a wind power plant in West Virginia. That system was developed by AES Energy Storage.


image via A123 Systems

A123 Systems manufactures advanced lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems for transportation, electric grid and commercial applications. The company claims that its proprietary nanophosphate technology, which was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, achieves improved power and energy density, increased safety and longer life than other battery systems. With more than 90 MW of grid battery systems shipped to date, A123 says it has produced and deployed more lithium ion batteries for grid storage purposes than any other company in the world. The technology will also soon be tested by Southern California Edison in the Tehachapi Wind Area.

“We believe that wind-rich locations like Hawaii represent a significant opportunity for energy storage, especially as project developers and utilities continue to understand that storage has the capability to help maximize production and reduce the challenges associated with the variability of wind power generation,” said Robert Johnson, vice president of the Energy Solutions Group at A123. “We consider Sempra Generation’s selection of our GBS energy storage solution for the Auwahi Wind project to be strong validation of our technology, and we look forward to showcasing the benefits of our energy storage systems for wind power integration when the Auwahi project is operational.”

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).

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