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

Keeping the lights on in extreme conditions: Three power plants put to the test


In addition to the basic function of providing grid capacity and energy to their customers, some utilities have additional motivation behind their desire to build a new power plant, particularly as extreme weather, natural disasters, and geopolitical conflicts continue to threaten our power systems. For more, read Keeping the lights on in extreme conditions: Three power plants put to the test.

Key Takeaways

  • In Palmer, Alaska, Mantanuska Electric Association (MEA) built a 170 MW self-generation power plant with ten Wartsila 18V50DF engines. The plant is dual-fuel capable, with the primary fuel being natural gas, and is designed and built to withstand high seismic forces.
  • This foresight proved well-founded when the area experienced a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in November 2018. The facility experienced only minor damage and MEA restored power to most of their territory in less than 24 hours.
  • On Oahu, Hawaiian Electric (HECO) built the highly efficient, flexible 50 MW Schofield Generating Station to provide energy security and resiliency for the Schofield Barracks Army Base. The plant has six Wartsila 20V34DF engines that run on biofuel.
  • In May 2021, HECO performed a demonstration full-system test in which the microgrid serving the Base as an islanded load was successfully established and operated for 36 hours without any interruptions.
  • In New Orleans, Louisiana, Entergy replaced a 1960’s era steam generation plant with the New Orleans Power Station (NOPS), a highly efficient plant that includes seven Wartsila 18V50SG sets producing 128 MW. The plant was designed to withstand high winds and extreme rainfall present during hurricanes.
  • When Hurricane Ida struck South Louisiana in August 2021, Entergy reported that within 48 hours, NOPS was restarted and connected to the local grid.

Path to 100% Perspective

Extreme weather, natural disasters, and the variability of renewable power sources like wind and solar demand greater resiliency in our power systems. Flexible engine power plants offer not just resiliency but also the flexibility and high efficiency that are needed to balance the intermittency of renewable energy and variable weather conditions, proving it’s possible to keep the lights on while meeting decarbonization goals. Dispatchability, dual- and multi-fuel capabilities, low minimum operating levels, zero minimum down times and run times, and fast ramp speeds are all characteristics that utilities and power providers should keep in mind when designing and building resilient energy systems of the future.

DOE eyes AI, machine learning to accelerate long-duration energy storage research


A proposed federal research program to accelerate research into the durability and performance of long-duration energy storage is a critical step to meeting the Biden administration’s decarbonization goals, speakers said Thursday at a Department of Energy (DOE) panel. DOE officials said long-duration energy storage technology must be commercially ready, at scale, by 2030, in order to increase the share of renewables on the grid and meet the administration’s 100% clean electricity by 2035 goal. To learn more, read, DOE eyes AI, machine learning to accelerate long-duration energy storage research.”

Key Takeaways:

  • In July, DOE announced a moonshot goal to reduce the cost of utility-scale, long-duration storage by 90% within a decade, backed by federal research, large-scale demonstrations and domestic manufacturing incentives
  • Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk said bringing long-duration storage to the grid wouldn’t just make it possible to rely on more renewable energy, but also “increase resilience and lower energy burdens” for vulnerable communities.
  • Although there have been technical breakthroughs on long-duration technologies — notably Form Energy’s July announcement of a 100-hour iron-air battery — experts have cautioned about the limited window to test batteries in the real world.
    • ROVI, the proposed initiative from DOE’s national labs, seeks to close that information gap by using machine learning and artificial intelligence to model performance of different long-duration storage technologies, including predicting how the technology will lose performance or hold up physically over time.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be key elements for the design of future energy systems, supporting the growth of smart grids and improving the efficiency of power generation, along with the interaction among electricity customers and utilities. Centralized power systems enable equal access to clean power at the lowest cost, reducing economic inequality. Regardless of whether the path forward is more or less centralized, AI brings value to all parties. The more AI is used in the dispatch of power plants, the more it will be needed in the design and creation process for new power plants or aggregations of power generation equipment. AI and equipment expertise are needed to enhance the safety, reliability, and efficiency of power equipment and systems. AI and machine learning will play increasingly important roles in future power generation, especially as more communities and organizations come to rely on smart grids and renewable fuels for their electricity needs.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash