The technology group Wärtsilä is finalising a 70 MW energy storage and energy management system project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) energy market. The energy storage system will be paired with Wärtsilä GEMS platform to maximise system efficiencies and will add renewable power to the grid at times when it otherwise wouldn’t be available. The order was booked by Wärtsilä in late 2019 and the project will be finalised in mid-2020.
Wärtsilä GEMS advanced software platform will optimise the deployment and functionality of the customer’s existing renewable energy power system and will connect the site to the local energy market. GEMS will increase revenue and ROI by maximising battery performance and longevity and enabling additional value streams. For example, GEMS will facilitate “energy arbitrage” with the system’s battery storage capabilities. This allows the customer to purchase electricity from the market when prices are low and sell stored energy back into the market when short-term costs spike.
“This sizable 70 MW project demonstrates the growing value being placed on energy storage; there are no government programs or regulations in place that incentivised this build,” says Risto Paldanius, Business Development Director for Energy Storage & Optimisation at Wärtsilä Energy Business.
Other technical considerations include battery chemistry. Wärtsilä is incorporating lithium iron phosphate batteries, enhancing safety measures of the site.
“Energy storage system safety is the most important design feature in our projects. For this customer, safety starts with a lithium iron phosphate battery option, which has several fundamental safety features such as a lower thermal runaway temperature and very low temperature rise rate. Temperature, smoke and fire detection, as well as suppression systems, are all designed for early detection and prevention of any safety related incidents,” explains Paldanius.
This project is the first grid-scale energy storage project for the customer and will be Wärtsilä’s largest energy storage deployment tied to a renewable resource in the western United States. This adds to Wärtsilä’s portfolio of 20+ operating energy storage projects in North America, including two grid-scale 9.9 MW energy storage systems in Roscoe, Texas.
In total, Wärtsilä has deployed more than 70 energy storage systems worldwide.