Energy Storage

Va. public power entity seeks battery storage system proposals

Virginia Municipal Electric Association on Dec. 5 issued a request for proposals for the complete engineering, procurement, and construction of varying sizes (2-12 megawatts, with one or two-hour durations) of a standalone utility-scale battery energy storage system or systems (BESS) to start operation by Jan. 1, 2020.

The RFP notes that VMEA will own and operate the resources after commissioning (i.e., after the commercial operation date).

VMEA’s seven public power utility members are interconnected to the PJM Interconnection and have an annual peak demand of approximately 300 MW and annual load requirements of approximately 1,500 GWh. 

The primary function of the BESS will be the reduction of VMEA’s transmission demand and its monthly billing demand. “That is, VMEA intends to operate the BESS to reduce its share of coincident peaks, which are drivers of certain wholesale power costs for VMEA,” the RFP said.

VMEA anticipates that it will have full operational, but remote, control of the dispatch of the BESS system “as VMEA has experience with the forecasting and timing of these potential coincident peaks.”

The RFP notes that VMEA supplies the majority of its power and energy to its members via a long-term power supply arrangement with investor-owned Dominion. VMEA has some flexibility in managing its contribution to the PJM transmission peak demand as well as its monthly coincident peak demand within the Dominion load-serving entity control area. VMEA intends to own and operate BESS facilities to manage its coincident peak demands with PJM and Dominion LSE.

VMEA anticipates cycling the BESS 50-100 times per year, four to eight times per month, and normally, only one time per day. However, there is the potential for VMEA to need to dispatch the BESS up to two times per day in winter months.

For each cycle, VMEA anticipates charging the BESS during off-peak, overnight hours and discharging the BESS during potential coincident peak conditions (i.e., on-peak periods). In an effort to maximize peak demand reduction, VMEA anticipates fully discharging the battery during each cycle. It expects that it will have full operational, but remote, control of the dispatch of the BESS system “as VMEA has experience with the forecasting and timing of these potential coincident peaks,” the RFP said.

The BESS project will be sited at and controlled by VMEA member Harrisonburg Electric Commission on behalf of all VMEA members. Harrisonburg Electric Commission plans to locate the BESS project at its East Market Street substation, which is a 230-kV substation interconnected to the Dominion transmission system and distributes power on Harrisonburg Electric Commission’s 23-kV distribution system.

Proposals in response to the RFP, which is available here, will be due Feb. 1, 2019.

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