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World’s Largest Wind Energy Storage System Launches in Texas
North Carolina-based Duke Energy just flipped the switch on what the company claims is the world’s largest battery power storage system. Situated at their Notrees wind farm in western Texas, the $44 million, 36-megawatt facility utilizes cutting-edge technologies to provide storage for—and therefore a steady supply of power from—the 153-megawatt renewable energy plant which supplies electricity to Walmart.
Work began on the storage facility in 2011, after Duke received—and matched—a $22 million grant from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E advanced energy research funding arm. An Austin-based company, Xtreme Power engineered the large-scale power storage system, which they will continue to manage. According to CleanTechnia, the system is largely comprised of PowerCell batteries; a “12 volt, 1 kWh, dry cell battery based on a proprietary formula of alloys including copper, lead and tellurium.” Xtreme Power claims that these batteries are less hazardous that others in regular usage, and are more easily recycled.
As the largest project of its kind, Duke’s storage system will also be monitored and studied by the Electric Power Research Institute, which hopes to determine future broader applications for the system. If it proves to be reliable, it could provide a good blueprint for future large-scale battery storage systems, which might provide consistent power to the municipal grids from solar or wind farms. In a statement Greg Wolf, president of Duke’s renewables unit explained “[e]nergy storage will benefit our renewables business, our customers and the energy sector as a whole.”
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