North Carolina’s Duke Energy has started operations in what it refers to as the biggest battery power system in the world. The Notrees wind farm facility, which cost $44 million and has a 36 MW capacity, uses some of the most advanced technology to store the energy being produced by the 153 MW renewable energy plant that gives Wallmart its electricity. The facility therefore ensures a steady power supply to beneficiaries.
After the ARPA-E, the part of the Department of Energy in charge of research funding, approved a $22 million grant for Duke to start working on the facility in 2011, Duke also added a further $22 million of their own to fund the entire project.
The system of power storage was provided by Xtreme Power, who are based in Austin. Xtreme Power, who will also continue to manage the system, used mostly PowerCell batteries to construct the storage facility, but according to them, these batteries are less dangerous and recycled easier than regular PowerCell batteries.
Being the biggest such facility, the project will also be studied and observed by Electric Power Research Institute with hopes of being able to apply the technology for an even wider range of purposes. If the system is successful, it could become the basis for such large storage facilities looking to provide steady power to the grid from renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
The renewables unit of Duke Energy’s representative, Greg Wolf emphasized this saying that energy storage will be beneficial for all involved, from the energy companies to the consumer.