Fortnightly Top Innovators 2018
Nick Jewell is Senior Research Engineer – LG&E and KU.
Steve Mitnick is Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and President of Lines Up, Inc.
PUF: What's this project about?
Nick Jewell: I'm in research and development. Energy storage has been on our radar as something that's getting very close to a mature technology. We decided to design an energy storage research and development project and co-locate with our ten-megawatt solar facility, after it was built. The solar facility began commercial operation in 2016. We repurposed the construction lay-down yard used during construction for the battery storage site. The battery site began operation in December of 2016.
The site was designed to be technology agnostic. We can test most types of energy storage including lithium ion batteries, flow batteries, mechanical systems such as flywheels, and electrical systems such as capacitors or solid-state batteries, when those near commercialization.
We wanted the site to be modular so that we could bring storage systems in, as well as balance-of-plant equipment, including inverters and control systems, allowing for both short-term and long-term testing and evaluation. This design gained a lot of interest from the Electric Power Research Institute, other research agencies, system vendors, and universities. It allows us flexibility to test a multitude of items on a collaborative platform.