AEP Utility To Deploy Additional Large-Scale Batteries On Distribution Grid

October 22, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

American Electric Power announced that it is expanding its use of large-scale battery technology on its electricity grid. AEP, which states that it is the only U.S. utility currently using advanced energy storage technology as part of its electricity infrastructure, will be adding stationary sodium sulfur (NAS®) battery technology in its West Virginia and Ohio service territories next year. The company will also work with wind developers to identify a third location within AEP’s 11-state service territory for NAS battery deployment next year, using the storage capability to help offset the intermittent nature of wind generation.

AEP has placed an order for the three new NAS batteries with NGK Insulators Ltd. of Japan, the manufacturer and co-developer, along with the Tokyo Electric Power Co., of the technology. AEP anticipates delivery in spring 2008. The six megawatts added to AEP’s system during this deployment is a step toward the company’s goal of having 1,000MW of advanced storage capacity on its system in the next decade.

"We are extremely impressed with both the performance and the potential of this technology after using it in real-world applications and from experience we’ve gained through our long relationship with NGK," said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "These new installations will move us a step closer to the full potential of advanced energy storage technologies in areas like reliability improvement, peak-load shaving and the use of stored energy from renewable sources like wind to supplement available generation resources.

"We’re first movers on advanced storage among U.S. utilities, a position we’ve held on a wide number of technologies in our century of existence. Our near-term goal is to have at least 25MW of NAS battery capacity in place by the end of this decade. But this is just a start. Our longer-term goal is to add another 1,000 megawatts of advanced storage technology to our system in the next decade. We will look at the full spectrum of technologies – flow batteries, pumped hydro, plug-in hybrid vehicles and various other technologies in early stages of development today – to determine their feasibility and potential for commercial application."

AEP plans to add two megawatts of NAS battery capacity near Milton, West Virginia, to enhance reliability and allow for continued load growth in that area. AEP will also add two megawatts of NAS battery capacity near Findlay, Ohio, to enhance reliability, provide support for weak sub-transmission systems and avoid equipment overload.

A specific site for the third NAS battery, which is expected to be integrated with wind generation, will be announced in the coming weeks. The combined cost for the three installations, including associated site preparation, equipment and control systems, will be approximately $27 million. AEP has identified other potential sites for future deployment of advanced storage technologies.