Wartsila energy storage systems keep island grid secure


Wartsila will supply two 10 MW / 10 MWh energy storage systems consisting of its GridSolv Quantum integrated energy storage system and GEMS Digital Energy Platform software to Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd. (CUC) in the Cayman Islands. The project, which will be CUC’s first energy storage facility, will enable the utility to approximately double its renewable energy capacity on Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands. For more, read Wartsila energy storage systems keep island grid secure.

Key Takeaways

  • The new energy storage facilities will allow CUC to operate its generating assets, including a 5 MW solar farm, in a more efficient manner, reducing fuel costs to electricity consumers.
  • The energy storage systems will also facilitate up to a total of approximately 29 MW of distributed customer-sited renewable energy resources without causing instability to the grid.
  • The systems are expected to provide extensive power system optimization capabilities and the battery will have the ability to react much faster than the existing plant, reducing the risk of customer outages caused by a loss of generation.
  • The systems are expected to become operational in late 2023.
  • Wartsila is no stranger to optimizing island power grids as its GEMS software and GridSolv energy storage systems are being used to manage 4.5 MW of wind energy, 1 MW of solar and 2.5 MW of energy storage on the island of Graciosa in the Azores, and provide 25 MW of energy storage for Bahama Power and Light.

Path to 100% Perspective

Island grids face unique reliability and resiliency challenges before considering the intermittency caused by increased integration of renewables. Places like the Cayman Islands demonstrate how steps are being taken to not only work toward renewable energy goals to reduce carbon emissions, but also to optimize energy generation and improve grid reliability in the face of seasonal variability and extreme weather events

Duke Energy Faces Challenges to Its Push for New Natural Gas Plants


Duke Energy’s plan to build gigawatts’ worth of new natural gas generators to supply its grid over the next 15 years has already drawn fire from clean-energy advocates who say it violates the utility’s long-range decarbonization goals and could leave customers paying for power plants that can’t economically compete with cleaner alternatives. To learn more, read Duke Energy Faces Challenges to Its Push for New Natural Gas Plants.”

Key Takeaways:

  • In Duke’s integrated resource plan (IRP) for its Carolina utilities, only one of six pathways for reaching net-zero carbon by 2050 avoids building new natural gas plants. The rest propose between 6.1 – 9.6 gigawatts of new natural gas capacity.
  • The IRP also notes that Duke is planning a massive build-out of clean-energy capacity, including between 8.7 – 16.4 GW of new solar and 1 – 7.5 GW of new energy storage, depending on each scenario’s targeted levels of carbon emissions reduction.
  • A key issue highlighted by Duke’s critics is that its IRP appears to have inflated its peak electricity demands and underestimated the amount of resources available to meet its winter loads.
  • A second key issue is that Duke’s IRP appears to undervalue solar power, batteries, demand-side management, and energy efficiency as cost-effective alternatives to building new power plants.
  • An independent analysis by Synapse Energy Economics found that taking a solar-battery path could reduce overall system cost by $7.2 billion, out of a range of 15-year costs; reduce carbon dioxide emissions by tens of millions of tons per year; and provide enough capacity to carry Duke through its electric-heating-driven winter peaks without threatening grid reliability.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Duke is facing the challenge of the pressure to decarbonize quickly, all while maintaining reliability for their customers. Fast-start, flexible thermal plants can help utilities meet rigorous carbon reduction targets, maintain grid reliability and minimize costs. They are designed to burn natural gas today and convert to renewable fuels produced using power-to-methane (or hydrogen) in the future. Power-to-methane (PtM) is one of a growing number of power-to-gas processes. PtM sequesters carbon from the air through direct-air carbon capture. This process is coupled with electrolysis for hydrogen, and a methanation process to combine carbon and hydrogen into synthetic methane. The electricity used to power this process comes from excess renewable (e.g., wind and solar) or carbon-free (e.g., hydro or nuclear) sources. Thus, the fuel produced from PtM is renewable.


Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash