Large-Scale Battery Storage System to Balance Electric Grid

January 13, 2016 by Jeff Shepard

Sumitomo Corporation together with Sumitomo Corporation of Americas announced they are to commence operation of their innovative battery power storage system, Willey Battery Utility, LLC, that they have been constructing in Hamilton County, Ohio since April. This facility will provide a reliable and stable supply-demand balancing service for the frequency regulation market operated by PJM, the largest independent service operator of wholesale electricity in the U.S.

"As a developer of wind and solar power plants which are unavoidably intermittent generation sources, we think it is quite important that we also contribute to the stabilization of power grids through balancing services. Understanding that energy storage service is indispensable for further penetration of renewable energy, we will keep trying to expand our footprint in the energy-storage space, not only in frequency-regulation but also in other types of storage services," said Nick Hagiwara, Director, Power and Infrastructure Group, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.

With the rise in the percentage of electricity generated from renewable resources with high-output fluctuation, such as wind and solar energy, it is becoming increasingly important to balance and manage the difference between actual and forecasted electricity demand, and stabilize the output of electricity to consumers. Sumitomo Corporation Group has identified this need, and has piloted projects in Japan creating innovative battery storage systems from reused batteries of electric vehicles. These programs were piloted on the islands of Yumeshima, Osaka, Koshiki and Kagoshima in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Sumitomo Corporation Group aims to explore the effectiveness of battery power storage systems and their ability to stabilize the electricity grid with the growing use of renewable energy.

In April of last year, Sumitomo acquired an interest in Willey Battery Utility, LLC (WBU) from Renewable Energy Systems Americas, the U.S. renewable energy developer/constructor, through Perennial Power Holdings, a U.S.-based subsidiary of the Sumitomo Corporation Group. WBU will own this battery energy storage system (maximum output: 6 MW, energy capacity: 2 MWh) manufactured by Toshiba Corporation. This was the Company's first investment in a large-scale stand-alone battery storage facility in the United States.