Date: Sep 17, 2018

By Michael Kuser

National Grid has begun operating a vanadium redox-flow battery (VRB) with its 1-MW solar PV array in Shirley, Mass., to demonstrate utility operation of storage.

The company was the prime recipient of an $875,000 Massachusetts grant awarded to an application team that also includes Vionx Energy, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the Energy Initiatives Group. (See Massachusetts Awards $20M in Energy Storage Grants.)

Carlos Nouel, vice president of innovation and development at National Grid, told RTO Insider that “the Shirley project will serve as a test bed for integrating storage and solar through the use of flow batteries, and support the development of new frameworks for dispatching stored solar power.”

national grid energy storage vrb solar vionx energy

This table details feeder and solar site characteristics for National Grid’s site in Shirley, Massachusetts. | National Grid

Massachusetts lags far behind California in deploying utility-scale energy storage, but it is trying to integrate the technology into its power supply.

California utilities must procure more than 1.3 GW of energy storage by 2020. As of August, the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities are in the process of actually procuring nearly 1.5 GW, with about 332 MW currently online, according to a report last month by the California Energy Commission.

In contrast, Massachusetts last year said the state’s utilities must procure a combined 200 MWh of energy storage by Jan. 1, 2020. ISO-NE in April reported more than 500 MW of storage capacity in its interconnection queue. (See Overheard at the Energy Storage Association Annual Conference.)

Home-Grown Storage

Vionx (rhymes with “bionics”) is supplying the energy storage system for the Shirley solar project, which lies about 30 miles west of the company’s lab and headquarters in Woburn, Mass.

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