"[The batteries] take commands from the overall system operator, PJM," adjusting moment-to-moment to the grid's needs, said Zahurancik. "They benefit the grid whether they're charging or discharging."
The installation, however, may still have room for improvement. "The fundamental challenge is still the economics," said Yang, observing that batteries are still relatively expensive for their energy density, though he expects that to change as renewable energy and electric vehicles become more common. AES did not reveal the cost of the battery storage unit, but Zahurancik said the facility was a sound business decision for the company and will profit from it in the short term.
Zahurancik also said that as battery technology improves, the existing setup at Laurel Mountain can be easily replaced or augmented, since all the components are modular and scalable.
However, Yang emphasized that researchers and utilities should investigate all of their options for grid-level energy storage. "Different markets have different requirements," he said. "Right now, there isn't any technology or dream technology that can satisfy all the requirements."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500