Xcel Energy to test battery storage technology in Stapleton Company ready to pilot emerging energy technology in partnership with Sunverge, Energy Northern Reliability Inc.
Xcel Energy is partnering with battery vendors Sunverge Energy and Northern Reliability, Inc. to test battery storage technology to maximize the use of rooftop solar energy while ensuring the safety and reliability of the electric grid. The two-year pilot project is taking place in Stapleton's North Central Park and Eastbridge neighborhoods.
As customers' demand for solar energy in their homes and businesses increases, this is a crucial time for Xcel Energy to learn how battery storage can help integrate higher concentrations of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy onto its system. The company wants to not only learn how to accommodate more solar energy onto its grid, but also manage other grid issues such as voltage regulation and peak demand, and reduce energy costs.
"For the program, Xcel Energy is testing six in-home, behind-the-meter battery units and six larger, utility-scale units along the feeder that serves the majority of the North Central Park and Eastbridge neighborhoods," said Beth Chacon, Xcel Energy's director of grid storage and emerging technologies. "We chose the Stapleton area because it has among the highest concentrations of rooftop installations in the Denver area."
Distribution feeders bring electricity into homes and businesses and carry the energy produced by in-home solar systems to the electric grid. All three companies want to understand how energy storage can help manage the impact of high concentration of rooftop solar energy on a feeder in these Stapleton neighborhoods. This includes accommodating more solar energy on Xcel Energy's grid, while also storing excess solar power during the day and discharging stored power during peak energy usage times. There is also the hope of learning more about regulating voltage spikes and reducing energy costs.
San Francisco-based Sunverge Energy is providing the six in-home batteries and control software. Each 15.5 kWh, AC-coupled Sunverge One energy storage system is expected to be installed in the spring of 2017, and will be paired with pre-existing rooftop solar PV arrays.
"Sunverge's cloud-based platform will allow Xcel Energy to control individual Sunverge storage systems and aggregate them into virtual power plants," said Ken Munson, Sunverge Energy CEO. "This modest investment in storage can translate into less need for expensive feeder upgrades, as well as reduce the need to build new generation or switch on peaker plants.
"Sunverge partners with forward-thinking utilities like Xcel Energy who are dealing with the rapid transformation of the electric grid. We believe the grid will continue to be an important resource for the public well into the future, and utilities like Xcel Energy are exploring new technologies that allow them to simultaneously deliver value-added services to their customers while making the grid more reliable than ever."
Meanwhile, Waitsfield, VT-based Northern Reliability Inc. (NRI) is supplying the six, utility-scale batteries that will be placed on either end of the distribution feed half loop and are paired to match the entire loop's reverse power flow.
"Xcel Energy's Stapleton project afforded the team here at Northern Reliability, Inc. the ability to design a system that focuses on power quality management and renewable integration using a distributed storage model that was unique to the larger storage projects happening in the US," said Jay Bellows, NRI, CEO.
"Unlike the traditional large-scale battery energy storage systems NRI has been designing for utilities lately, Xcel Energy challenged the team to arrive at a solution that responds to the state of power quality on the local grid through a series of systems," Bellows said. "The resiliency and redundancy provided by these systems, spread out through multiple neighborhoods, is incredibly forward thinking. This is exciting as it brings distributed storage resources one step closer to widespread adoption. This kind of innovation furthers the goals of increasing the penetration of renewable generators while simultaneously protecting the utilities from variances in the power quality."
NRI's batteries are expected to be installed in the fall of 2017, and comprise two 18 kW batteries, two 36 kW batteries and two 54 kW batteries.
The Stapleton project is one of two Innovative Clean Technology (ICT) Programs approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in 2016. Xcel Energy's clean technology program enables the testing of emerging energy technologies that promise lower greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental benefits. The project is estimated to cost $4 million. In addition, the ICT not only provides the opportunity to test new technologies and evaluate their cost, but evaluate reliability and environmental performance on a small, demonstration scale before determining whether to deploy them widely for customers.
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About Sunverge Energy
San Francisco and Brisbane, Australia-based Sunverge Energy allows homeowners efficient management of their own renewable energy generation and helps utilities, retailers and solar power providers manage those renewable power sources and aggregate them into virtual power plants across neighborhoods, communities and entire service areas reliably, effectively and intelligently. Founded in 2009, the company makes the Sunverge One, a fully integrated energy storage system, and the Sunverge Infinity, an energy management platform for managing third-party distributed energy resources. The Sunverge One and Sunverge Infinity increase energy reliability, strengthen the grid, and accelerate the adoption and integration of distributed renewable energy. Investors include AGL, the Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and SB China Venture Capital (SBCVC), MITSUI & Co., Siemens Venture Capital, Total Energy Ventures International and VisIR. For more information, please visit www.sunverge.com.
About Northern Reliability
Northern Reliability, Inc. ("NRI") is a US-based energy storage system integrator and manufacturer of control systems and software. In business since 2007, NRI supports a wide range of customers around the globe with energy storage systems operating on every continent including Antarctica. In recent years, NRI has developed a suite of systems dedicated to serving the storage needs of the US utility market focusing primarily on mid-market sized projects in the 1MWh-20MWh range. NRI systems are designed to operate in a wide variety of environments and modes allowing a single storage asset to provide not only end-user support at a particular location, but also to serve a larger utility-scale function through "fleet mode" whereby multiple storage assets may function in collaboration with one another for peak demand reduction during critical times on the grid. NRI - A million cycles & counting. For more information, please visit www.northernreliability.com.
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