Hawaiian Electric on its first large-scale battery system

Last Friday, the Honolulu-based utility said “Hawaiian Electric Co. has flipped the switch on its first large-scale battery storage system on Oahu at its Campbell Industrial Park power plant”.

The 1-megawatt system is a joint demonstration project by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii and the state’s largest utility with funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

The project is expected to continue for two years with a possible extension to determine the battery’s safety, operating characteristics and effectiveness in helping to integrate more renewable energy on a circuit that already has a high level of solar.

Battery storage systems are considered the keys to helping the state get to 100 percent renewable energy by storing energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Hawaiian Electric has a similar battery storage project in operation on the Big Island for wind energy purposes. There’s also another project at Maui Electric Co.’s Palaau Power Plant on Molokai, which is being tested to provide energy and stability to that island’s grid should a generator go offline.

Director of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Richard Rocheleau said in a statement “battery storage systems can provide many different services to both customers and the utility; however, the systems need to be told what to do and how to do it to provide the most value while maximizing the life span of the system”.

“These projects will test different control strategies on different Islands for different power system issues and provide information to Hawaii and the industry on the trade-offs between performance and longevity,” he added.

These projects are among half a dozen energy storage demonstrations and pilot projects underway across Hawaiian Electric’s service territories.