On 20 October 2017, Greensmith Energy, a Wärtsilä Company, and American Electric Power (AEP) announced details on plans to install a 4MW energy storage system into the Buck and Byllesby hydroelectric power plants in southwest Virginia, US. Due to begin operating in the first quarter of 2018, the system will deliver PJM frequency regulation market (Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland power pool) one of the first new energy storage systems since the adoption of new frequency regulation signals and requirements for regulation service. Harnessing Greensmith's GEMS software platform that offers multiple storage applications, the project will serve both of PJM's frequency regulation markets, including traditional regulation known as RegA and dynamic regulation known as RegD.

IWP&DC interviewed John Jung, President and CEO of Greensmith Energy Management, to discover more about what has been described as the world's first hybridized system of its kind to provide ancillary services.

How did Greensmith Energy become involved in this project, do you have similar experience elsewhere?

Greensmith is the market leader in grid-scale energy storage having deployed over 50 battery energy storage systems totalling over 150 MW. We previously deployed an energy storage system for American Electric Power (AEP) in West Virginia. Based on that experience, AEP selected us for the Buck and Byllesby project.

To our knowledge, this is the first ever pairing of a battery storage facility with a hydroelectric power plant and represents an emerging opportunity to combine energy storage with existing sources of generation to improve operational efficiency, create new value streams and improve system reliability.  With the Wärtsilä acquisition, we continue to identify and bring to market new sources of value for customers and partners by further optimizing traditional generation sources with energy storage. The growing capacity of renewable generation, including solar PV, becomes more sustainable and attractive when integrated with advanced energy storage.

Could you provide details on the energy storage system to be installed?

The battery storage system to be installed is a Li-ion based technology. The battery will bring incremental frequency regulation revenue to the hydroelectric facility. The sizing of the battery is 4 MW / 4 MWh, which allows AEP to fully utilize their existing hydroelectric interconnection to the grid.

What is Greensmith's GEMS software platform? How can it  be used at hydroelectric plants?

The Greensmith Energy Management System (GEMS), is our fifth generation energy storage control system. GEMS is built upon a foundation of “connectors” to physical assets. These connectors enable GEMS to control and acquire data from batteries, inverters, and numerous other sources such as hydroelectric and other generation plants, building loads, and SCADA signals from an independent system operator. On top of these connectors sits a computational platform, which enables Greensmith to control physical assets based on a rules-based engine and provide additional functionality such as fleet control. Finally, an ever-growing library of grid applications are built on top of the GEMS computational platform to provide hardware-agnostic applications such as frequency regulation, capacity shifting, and solar ramp rate control.

For this system, GEMs is used to control the battery storage in parallel with the hydroelectric dam to maximize the frequency regulation revenue that the battery storage system brings to the project.

How is the new system expected to operate? What will it achieve at the projects?

The battery system and hydroelectric dam will operate simultaneously. The battery system is faster responding than the hydroelectric dam, so it enables the hybrid facility to bid into the PJM Reg D Frequency Regulation market, which requires fast and accurate response on a second-by-second basis. Without battery storage, Buck and Byllesby would not otherwise be able to participate in the Reg D market. This brings incremental revenue to the project.

Are there plans for further projects like this?

The recent development of cost-effective and proven battery storage enables many opportunities to use battery storage to increase existing generator revenue. We are in discussions with customers interested in adding battery storage to generation assets including hydroelectric dams, wind and solar power plants, and thermal generators such as Wärtsilä engines.

Greensmith Energy Management Systems Inc