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A 'Needs Must' Approach to Energy Storage

image credit: ID 932614 © Lorpic99 |

The remote town of Cordova, Alaska, on the coast between Anchorage and Juneau, is completely isolated from the grid.  Cordova Electric Cooperative (CEC) provides the only source of power to a town that can only be reached by boat or plane.  To date, residents have relied on the local diesel power plant and the hydropower generated from two separate sites.  In a recent effort to reduce reliance on diesel and lower emissions a new energy storage system has been installed. The utility-scale lithium-ion system will manage fluctuations in the grid when demand is high.  

Technology provider, Saft supplied the energy storage system while ABB provided power conversion equipment and controls.  The venture resulted in a 1MW rated 1MWh capacity storage system that improved demand response and the resilience of the grid.  The battery system is especially important to provide frequency response during summer months when salmon fishing floods the area.  This project is a first for CEC and they’re hopeful it won’t stop there.  ”We hope… 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.  As a leader in small microgrids systems, it's no surprise that the industry looks to Alaska, Canada and Siberia for examples of bringing electricity to areas of extreme weather.   A ‘needs must’ attitude has pushed for the innovation and development of this project. The arctic is not the only place the grid would benefit from an energy storage system.  Where do you see a need?

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