Arizona Public Service (APS) is among a handful of utilities in the US installing energy storage systems to replace traditional transmission infrastructure. After considering the price of rebuilding 20 miles of transmission infrastructure over rough terrain to rural Punkin Center, AZ, APS chose to install 8 megawatt-hours of battery storage for around the same cost. The battery system will increase grid reliability for 600 current customers and facilitate the town’s growing energy needs over the next 10 years.
“This project is a crucial step in the right direction for Arizona’s energy future. Over the next 15 years, APS has plans to add 500 megawatts of storage capacity. This project is indicative of the type of smart grid APS envisions for customers, one that enables people to have more technology in their own homes,” said Scott Bordenkircher, APS director of transmission and distribution technology innovation and integration.
APS already started deploying energy storage systems throughout its service area to store excess solar power. Earlier this year, APS installed 4 megawatt-hours of battery storage in Surprise and Buckeye, AZ. The project is part of APS’s Solar Partner Program, which is a study that uses smart inverters and energy storage data to find more efficient solutions to integrating high concentrations of solar onto the grid.
The project’s construction will start this fall and should be operational in early 2018. It will consist of two, 4 megawatt-hour Advancion battery systems made by AES Energy Storage. The modular system’s storage capacity is expandable as energy demands grow and solar capacity increases.
“We are watching as the prices come down on battery technology. Thoughtful implementation of battery storage is key to its future success. For a community like Punkin Center, the rural location, reduced implementation costs and added technological benefits make it the perfect candidate for this technology,” said Bordenkircher.
Even though APS continues to add new technologies to integrate more utility-scale solar, it is still attempting to stifle rooftop solar in Arizona. The utility filed with state regulators to phase-out net-metering by proposing to raise all rooftop solar customer’s rates by 7.96 percent, decrease reimbursement rates and implement demand charges for new customers in June 2016.Tweet