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Fortnightly Magazine - August 2013
Bonneville Power and Puget Sound Energy selected Primus Power to supply grid-scale flow batteries for a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory test project.

joint project to increase the energy efficiency of several diesel engines powering the coop’s microgrid-scale systems. For the initiative, GE will provide its Clean Cycle heat-recovery system to capture exhaust heat and produce electricity. The combined-cycle upgrade is expected to save Kotzebue more than 46,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and reduce its energy costs. The unit is scheduled to begin operating in the fourth quarter of 2013.

EVs & Storage

Siemens installed a Sitras SES supercapacitor energy storage unit on the new TriMet Portland-Milwaukie light rail transit line. The southeast Portland Tacoma substation location will host what Siemens says is the first rail-based regenerative braking storage system in the United States. Electricity stored in the system can be used for either energy savings or voltage stabilization during peak demand times. In energy savings mode, the unit stores energy generated by braking rail vehicles and retains it in a capacitor bank until the system can feed it back to the power supply during vehicle acceleration. As a voltage stabilizer, energy is discharged when system voltage falls below a specified limit. The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is set to open in 2015 and will expand to 60 miles and 97 stations. 

EnerDel commissioned a 5-MW energy storage system (ESS) used for Portland General Electric’s (PGE) Salem Smart Power project, part of the Pacific Northwest smart grid demonstration. The ESS is comprised of five large breakers that bring power in and out of the building, allowing inverters to convert electricity from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) during the charging cycle. The DC electricity is stored in lithium-ion batteries, to be used during peak demand periods or as back-up power during a utility outage. The same power system and inverters convert the clean DC to AC as the grid demands. PGE expects the project to be operational for at least 10 years.

Southern California Edison retired units 2 and 3 at its troubled SONGS nuclear plant.

Primus Power partnered with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to deliver and support two 250-kW EnergyPods as part of a research and demonstration project under BPA’s technology innovation program. BPA is funding roughly one-third of the total project with shared funding from Puget Sound Energy (PSE), the Energy Storage Program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Primus. The consortium is studying the potential installation of grid-scale flow batteries in the PSE electric distribution network. DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will develop models of the storage systems to assess their energy and economic benefits and make recommendations on where they should be placed. After the systems are installed, the PNNL team also will help evaluate their actual performance.

Smart Grid & Distribution Automation

The Illinois House of Representatives voted to overturn Governor Pat Quinn’s veto of Senate Bill 9, which accelerates investments by Ameren Illinois and ComEd to improve the electric grid. The action clears the way for Ameren Illinois to continue its modernization action plan, which aims to invest $640 million over a 10-year period to improve the reliability and performance of its electric delivery infrastructure. Similarly, ComEd expects to begin installing smart meters to customers in September 2013, with