A123 Systems today announced that a Hawaiian wind project developer will use its batteries to firm up power delivery into the grid. The Auwahi Wind project, which has a generating capacity of 21 megawatts, will be buttressed by a giant battery bank able to deliver 11 megawatts of power.
It's the second time this year that A123 Systems' storage systems, built around shipping container-size battery banks, were chosen to be co-located with a wind farm. The Laurel Mountain wind farm in West Virginia has a 32-megawatt battery bank attached to it, making it a more reliable source of electricity.
At the Auwahi Wind project, the batteries will be used to provide a more steady supply of power, which dips and rises with changing wind. The system will also be tapped to maintain a steady voltage.
One of the advantages of lithium ion batteries is that they are able to supply lots of power very quickly. A123 Systems said its power electronics can detect fluctuations in supply and be able to send 11 megwawatts of power in milliseconds. Adding storage to renewable energy generation is more commercially viable in Hawaii because it has the highest electricity prices in the U.S.
I don't think they're going to win the grid storage niche.
Sodium-ion and zinc-air batteries look like they are going to be a lot cheaper to manufacture and offer a lot more cycles. Utility batteries don't have the same size/weight limits that EV batteries do.