Flywheel Storage To Integrate Renewables In Alaskan Island Microgrid

ABB’s PowerStore flywheel storage solution is to be installed in the microgrid on remote Kodiak island.
Published: Wed 17 Sep 2014

With the need to integrate more renewable energy and stabilize power supply across the remote and isolated microgrid on Kodiak island, ABB is to install its PowerStore integrated commercial flywheel technology to integrate with a battery system.

Crane upgrade

The project, being undertaken for the island’s electric cooperative, Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), has been precipitated by a crane upgrade from the existing diesel driven one to an electrically driven crane. The installation of the larger crane, aimed to enhance port operations, is expected to generate power fluctuations that can be particularly destabilizing for an isolated grid like the one on Kodiak Island.

PowerStore’s dynamic response to transient events such as those expected from the new crane as well as the ability to carry out infinite charge and discharge cycles without degrading its life expectancy make it a good fit for the project.

“Expanding the crane operations at the port posed a challenge because it meant that we would likely have to rely more heavily on our fossil fuel-based generators,” said Darron Scott, president and chief executive officer of KEA. “Not only will the solution allow us to shave the peaks off the crane loads, it will also reduce the stresses placed on our battery systems and extend their lifespans.”

The PowerStore solution incorporates two 1MW grid stabilization generators that are based on a fast-acting, spinning flywheel with inverters to store short-term energy to absorb and/or inject both real and reactive power onto the microgrid. PowerStore can switch from a full-power charge to a full-power discharge in less than 5ms. Besides providing voltage and frequency support for the new crane, the PowerStore units will extend the life of the two 1.5MW battery systems and help to manage the intermittencies from the island’s 9MW wind farm.

Remote microgrids

Kodiak Island, off Alaska’s south coast, is the second largest island in the United States. Its population of 15,000 people live in seven communities, the largest in the port town of Kodiak.

KEA operates a microgrid that generates virtually all of its 28MW of electricity capacity from hydropower and wind.

This is the second flywheel storage project on an Alaskan island, after Beacon Power announced an installation on St. Paul island. [St. Paul Island Project To Demonstrate Flywheel Energy Storage In Remote Alaska]