$25M federal grant awarded to SCE for wind energy storage

ROSEMEAD — A $25 million Department of Energy grant was awarded to Southern California Edison to develop a lithium-ion battery bank for storing wind-generated electricity, the utility announced today.

The DOE funding is one of 32 stimulus grants awarded last year to demonstrate integrated "smart grid'' technologies as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"We are pleased to receive this significant financial assistance to study ways to make wind-generated energy more effective for electricity customers,'' said Jim Kelly, SCE's senior vice president of transmission and distribution.

The goal is to more efficiently feed the electricity coming from the Tehachapi-area wind turbines into the regional electrical grid.

The federal funding matches $29.9 million provided by SCE and its partners for the project, including a $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission.

Batteries and other energy storage solutions could support the regional electrical grid by lessening the effects of unpredictable wind patterns on energy production, according to SCE.

The focus of the project, which also includes battery maker A123 Systems and the California Independent System Operator Corp., will be at an SCE substation that serves the Tehachapi area, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. The area is ideal because of intermittent wind generation, according to SCE.

The battery system will be installed in early 2012, with testing continuing through 2014.

Quanta Technology and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona will provide engineering support and measurement and reporting services.