AES Energy Storage, part of energy titan AES, has created a renewable but stable 32-MW power grid in the mountains of West Virginia. By siting containers of lithium-ion batteries alongside 80-meter-tall wind turbines, the company is effectively stabilizing electrical output from a renewable resource and providing electricity on-demand to the electricity grid that serves 13 Eastern U.S. states.
Pairing energy storage with generation technologies is nothing new – traditional methods include flywheels and water pumps. But the scale of this wind-and-battery combination is unprecedented. The 61 wind turbines have a 98 megawatt (MW) capacity, and the 32-MW lithium-ion storage facility is the world’s largest, more than doubling the total capacity of lithium-ion electricity storage in use today.
According to the company, lithium-ion batteries are now feasible as a grid storage media, as prices drop with their manufacture for use in electric cars and on power grids. AES Energy Storage is also tracking the development of flow batteries and advanced lead acid batteries for large-scale electricity storage and plans to incorporate advances in battery technology in its Laurel Mountain site.
Photo credit: AES