What’s inside a battery energy storage system?
Battery energy storage systems are made up of thousands of individual lithium-ion battery cells, which are grouped into modules and installed on racks inside of durable, weatherproof metal containers (also called enclosures). The enclosures are typically 30 to 50 feet long, five to ten feet wide, about ten feet tall and may be clustered in groups of four. The batteries and control systems are accessible from the outside via a cabinet-style design. Each container is typically capable of storing two to five Megawatt-hours (“MWh”) of electricity.
Photo above: Construction personnel check system performance during commissioning.
How does it work?
Typically, a stand-alone battery energy storage system connects to the wider grid at an electric substation. The power used to charge the batteries is generated by the power that other generating power plants are injecting electricity to the grid when the battery charges. The batteries charge when there is extra power available on the grid, like overnight, and especially when customers do not need or cannot get that power, due to transmission limitations. When the batteries discharge, or put power back onto the grid, it is delivered to customers using power at that time, and especially at times of peak customer use. The batteries discharge when customers need power most, like on hot days when the air conditioning is running or during winter cold snaps when customers need enough power for heating.
For more information on battery energy storage, please visit the EPA site on battery storage.
How does it improve the delivery of electricity?
A battery storage facility provides increased energy capacity, peak shaving, voltage support, and frequency regulation—all of this means that a battery storage facility has the power and unique characteristics to make the grid perform better, by providing all those different supporting functions. Energy storage may defer the need for ratepayers to fund new transmission and generation infrastructure. Battery energy storage facilities can operate like gas Peaker plants but in a much cleaner way, providing zero emission generation and reducing the need for new oil and gas plants, and reducing emissions from these facilities.
How is the facility operated?
Once construction is completed and the facility is operational, there will be very little activity at the facility. Staff visits the facility as necessary to preemptively ensure smooth operations and inspect the equipment, run diagnostic checks, and groom vegetation. The facility is additionally remotely operated and monitored through state-of-the-art technology that communicates with the batteries, alarms, and fire suppression systems.
After construction, you can expect no observable increase in traffic, dust, glare, waste, or water use. The facility will produce very little noise and no regular nighttime lighting is anticipated. Operations will comply with all Westfield and industry ordinances and regulations.