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Turning An Old Coal Plant To An Energy-Storing Facility

By Paul Pajarillo , Nov 25, 2015 08:22 AM EST
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Duke Energy, LG Chem, Greensmith and Parker Hannifin turn an old coal plant into a two-megawatt battery-based energy storage facility for grid backup. The W.C. Beckjord plant located in New Richmond, OH, has been revived to facilitate energy for PJM Interconnection LLC.

Four companies took the challenge of turning a used coal plant to a backup battery-based energy storage grid support. Duke Energy being the largest electric company in the United States revived its coal-powering plant, W.C. Beckjord. The reestablished facility rapidly responds to PJM's regulating grid frequencies. PJM is the regional transmission organization that directs electric flow to the District of Columbia along with 13 states of the USA. The revival took place on August 2015 and operations followed on Nov. 17.

Duke Energy Senior Vice President of Commercial Transmission, Phil Grigsby, stated that locating the energy storage system to the company's old coal plant enabled them to take advantage of its infrastructure. The grids were already in place and all it needs is the relevant technology for its reawakening. The battery-based energy storage systems are a turnkey solution that can benefit consumers. Also, the demonstration of future potential applications for large-scale renewable energy integrations to the grid.

The improved economic efficiency and reliability of electricity provides unique services for its operators. Customer energy demands fluctuate and energy storages can instantly absorb excess energy from the grid as well as release energy needs in a matter of seconds compared to power plants that could take about 10 minutes or more to boost energy needs.

LG Chem has provided Beckjord with lithium-ion battery storage systems. Greensmith added the energy storage software known as GEMS to manage frequency regulations. Lastly, Parker Hannifin provided the two-megawatt power conversion inverter.

The coal plant conversion project adds to Duke's commercial energy storage facilities. With this project, the company will now have a total of four megawatts at Beckjord and a two-megawatt battery backup system.

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