A trio of eager tech startups confronts an industry intent on preserving the status quo.
Bruce W. Radford is publisher of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
In light of all the excitement created by smart-grid regulatory initiatives and stimulus funding, three clever tech startups have come forward in the last several months with proposals for novel grid projects.
First, in California, the independent start-up, Western Grid Development (WGD), proposes to install energy storage devices ranging in size from 10 to 50 MW, using large-scale sodium-sulfur (NaS) batteries manufactured by the Tokyo Electric subdivision, NGK, at various discrete and strategic locations in PG&E’s service territory where the California ISO (CAISO) has identified reliability problems.
These storage devices, under WGD’s operational control, would remedy voltage drops, thermal overloads, plus other problems that could threaten line trips and loss of retail load, and so avoid conventional transmission line expansions that cost more and take longer to complete.