Sumitomo to invest in energy storage project

Sumitomo Corp. will invest in a battery power storage system to provide a stable supply-demand balancing service for the frequency regulation market operated by PJM Interconnection, the largest regional transmission organization of wholesale electricity in the U.S.

Sumitomo acquired an interest in Willey Battery Utility from RES Americas, through Perennial Power Holdings, a U.S.-based unit of the Sumitomo Corp. Group. WBU will own this battery energy storage system (maximum output: 6 MW, energy capacity: 2 MWh) manufactured by Toshiba Corp. This is the company’s first investment in a large-scale stand-alone battery storage facility in the United States.

With the increase in the percentage of electricity generated from renewable resources with high output fluctuation, such as wind and solar energy, it is becoming increasingly important to balance and manage any difference between supply and demand efficiently and effectively.

Storage batteries like the one WBU will have at its facility in Ohio will provide the regulated power to the frequency regulation market by following the PJM instructions sent every 2 seconds. Such power has conventionally been supplied by thermal and hydraulic power generation. In the United States, however, it is believed that the introduction of battery storage systems along with other new technologies will provide promising alternatives, as they can respond quickly to supply/demand variations and enable fine-tuned adjustment.

PJM currently operates power grids in 13 states in the northeastern U.S. with a total electric power generation capacity of about 185,600 MW which is comparable to the total capacity of 230,000 MW for all of Japan (excluding nuclear power generation capacity).

With this project, the battery power storage system will be delivered and maintained by Toshiba, while auxiliary machinery will be supplied and installed by RES. Construction work will begin in Hamilton County, Ohio in April 2015, and the operation is planned to commence in December 2015.

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