Powering Strong Communities

TVA details first grid-scale battery storage project it will own and operate

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is installing its first owned and operated, grid-scale, battery energy storage system near an industrial complex in Vonore, Tenn.

The Vonore Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will use lithium-ion batteries to store 40 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy, enough to power over 10,600 homes for three hours.

The system is due online in 2022 and will provide power to local industrial customers served by Loudoun Utilities Board. TVA said the system will improve the quality of electrical service provided to the manufacturing facilities without requiring the building of additional transmission lines.

The battery system will allow energy to be stored when demand and prices are low and for use when demand is higher, reducing costs for Tennessee’s Loudon Utilities Board and local industries.

“TVA’s battery will provide premium power for the industrial complex customers we serve,” Ty Ross, Loudon City manager and Loudon Utilities Board general manager, said in a statement.

The Vonore BESS will be TVA’s first battery storage system to go online, but not the only grid-scale battery storage system that TVA will use.

In February, TVA announced a solar project in Lowndes County, Mississippi, for its Green Invest programs that calls for a 200-MW solar project paired with 200-MWh storage facility. The project will be built, owned and operated by Origis Energy.

Both battery storage projects are part of the 2019 TVA Integrated Resource Plan, which calls for adding up to 5,000 MW of energy storage capacity through 2038.

In August, TVA began allowing local power companies the flexibility to generate up to 5% of their average electric needs from distributed resources, which translates into about 800 MW of new distributed generation, or 2,000 MW if all the generation is solar power.

The program allows any of the local power companies that have entered into 20-year Long-Term Partnership Agreements with TVA to reduce the amount of energy they buy, potentially cutting their overall energy costs, TVA said.

The American Public Power Association earlier this year launched its Public Power Energy Storage Tracker, a resource for association members that summarizes energy storage projects undertaken by members that are currently online.