Pioneering Battery Energy Storage System Pilot Projects

Battery Technology

Discover how battery energy storage system pilot projects are promising to transform the energy sector significantly.

Maria Guerra | Nov 06, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of energy generation and distribution, battery energy storage systems (BESS) have emerged as a crucial component in achieving a sustainable and resilient energy future. Recent initiatives like Dominion Energy‘s Darbytown Storage Pilot Project and Cadenza Innovation‘s BESS pilot project in Bridgeport underscore the importance of creating and funding such innovative endeavors. These projects are not only pushing the boundaries of energy storage technology. Let’s delve into the importance of BESS pilot projects and the potential impact they can have on the energy landscape.

Extending energy storage durations

One of the most pressing challenges in energy storage has been the limited duration of energy discharge from batteries, particularly traditional lithium-ion batteries. Dominion Energy’s Darbytown Storage Pilot Project seeks to address this limitation by testing alternative technologies that can potentially discharge energy for extended periods.

The pilot project, which will be located at the existing Darbytown Power Station in Henrico County, will test two alternatives to lithium-ion batteries: iron-air batteries developed by Form Energy and zinc-hybrid batteries developed by Eos Energy Enterprises.

“We are pleased to partner with Dominion Energy on the innovative Darbytown Storage Pilot Project and look forward to delivering a 100-hour iron-air battery system that will enhance grid reliability and provide Dominion’s Virginia customers with access to wind and solar energy when and where it is needed over periods of multiple days,” Form Energy’s co-founder and CEO Mateo Jaramillo stated.

Form Energy’s iron-air batteries have the potential to discharge energy for up to 100 hours, where such advancements can enhance grid reliability and ensure a consistent power supply, even during extended periods of high demand or during natural disasters.

Enhancing grid resilience

BESS are fundamental in maintaining grid resilience by providing backup power during outages. The ability to safely discharge stored energy when needed most can be a lifeline for customers. The BESS pilot projects by Dominion Energy and Cadenza Innovation can help mitigate power disruptions and enhance the resilience of energy systems.

Cadenza Innovation and the City will partner to assess and evaluate energy consumption within the Fire Department headquarters. They will also oversee the BESS to produce a report highlighting its peak-shaving effectiveness, its ability to capitalize on energy price differentials, and its capacity to provide backup power during grid outages.

Supporting renewable energy goals

Many states and nations have set ambitious renewable energy goals to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Dominion Energy’s initiatives align with its efforts to develop the largest offshore wind project in the US and expand its solar fleet. The ability to store excess energy generated from these sources and release it when needed is crucial to meeting clean energy targets.

“We are making the grid increasingly clean in Virginia with historic investments in offshore wind and solar,” stated Ed Baine, President of Dominion Energy Virginia. “With longer-duration batteries in the mix, this project could be a transformational step forward, helping us safely discharge stored energy when it is needed most by our customers.”

The pilot project by Cadenza Innovation will help further the State of Connecticut’s renewable energy goals, including Governor Ned Lamont’s climate change and energy legislation package that targets achieving 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2040.

Promoting technological innovation

Pilot projects like those by Dominion Energy and Cadenza Innovation are fostering innovation in the field of battery energy storage. By exploring alternative battery technologies, they are not only expanding the possibilities of energy storage but also breaking ground for further research and development.

Cadenza Innovation Founder and CEO Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud stated, “With support from the City, Fire Department, and Connecticut Innovations, we will demonstrate ‘the power’ and safety of an indoor modular system installed in an urban setting. And through collaboration with Bridgeport Labs, we look forward to helping establish an important pathway for clean workforce development – in particular, a re-entry program targeting veterans and other critically underserved groups.”

BESS pilot projects, such as those undertaken by Dominion Energy and Cadenza Innovation, hold immense promise for revolutionizing the energy landscape. They extend energy storage durations, enhance grid resilience, support clean energy integration, promote technological innovation, and have the potential to reduce the need for costly electrical infrastructure upgrades. As we continue our transition to a sustainable energy future, funding and supporting such pioneering projects is of paramount importance since these innovative pilot projects have the potential to benefit not only the energy sector but also a wide range of industries that rely on energy storage solutions.