French battery maker Saft is supplying a battery energy storage system to improve the performance of a run-of-the-river hydropower facility in the Alaskan town of Cordova.
Cordova Electric Cooperative (CEC) is integrating the BESS at the Power Creek facility, which is the main source of power for the off-grid town.
The 1MW/1MWh lithium-ion battery system— located at the central substation in the CEC grid— will provide spinning reserve to maintain grid frequency when flow from the hydro generation drops below 500kW.
The BESS is being implemented to maximise the use of the renewable energy in the town and reduce its reliance on diesel generation. “The aim is to recover lost hydro generation that currently must be spilled during transition periods between hydro-only and combined hydro-diesel generation,” CEC said.
Under current conditions, during these transition periods CEC can “waste more than 1MW of water power while burning expensive diesel fuel at the same time”.
For the BESS, CEC estimates annual cost of US$170,000 and annual fuel savings in the region of 35,000 gallons, saving around $150,000 yearly.
Despite operating costs being higher than savings initially, Cordova will benefit from increased energy resilience and reduced dependence upon fuel deliveries. The community is also exploring options to introduce bulk hydro storage alongside the current pumped hydro.