US recycling company Redwood Materials said it is helping to decommission a first-generation energy storage project in Hawaii, US.
The Anahola substation, comprising a 4.6MWh battery storage system, is just eight years old – commissioned in 2015 as part of a solar project by Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC).
KIUC said the project was built on land leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. It consisted of a 12MW solar array, a new substation and the BESS. The solar array and substation will continue to operate after the BESS is decommissioned.
Alison Young of KIUC told BEST: “The Anahola Saft batteries from 2015 were our first major battery storage system. They are still operable and have capacity, but the costs to KIUC to maintain they system outweigh the current benefit. Since they were installed we have added Tesla and AES battery systems which are significantly larger and are maintained by those vendors. The Saft batteries served their purpose but are no longer needed.”
KIUC’s chief of operations, Brad Rockwell, added: “To my knowledge this is the first utility-scale lithium-ion battery that’s being recycled in the state of Hawaiʻi. Lithium-ion batteries are unique in that there’s a fair amount of materials that are worth going through the process of shipping them to a recycling facility to get the raw materials to be reused in new battery systems.”
Redwood said KIUC commissioned a BESS from Tesla almost a decade ago. It is still in operation. The 6MW/4.6MWh lithium nickel-cobalt-aluminium oxide BESS will now operate as a direct-to-grid solar facility, according to the company.
Young added they plan to install a larger battery array to two existing solar power plants with federal funds recently awarded.
This is reportedly Redwood’s largest stationary storage decommissioning, which it thinks could serve as an industry model for future, gigawatt-scale projects. Redwood said it is managing its decommissioning, transport and recycling at its northern Nevada facility.
Young added that Kauai is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which is a very corrosive, salt-air environment. This facility is located very close to the east coastal area of Kauai and is directly in the path of prevailing tradewinds. The aging of the containers seen in the photo is normal for any structure of this nature on Kauai, she said.
Photo: Battery cabinets being recycled at the Anahola substation