ABB Microgrid to be Built in Anchorage with Two Forms of Energy Storage

Feb. 2, 2017
Alaska, the state with the largest number of microgrids, is about to get more clean and reliable power thanks to an ABB microgrid being developed in Anchorage.

Alaska, the state with the largest number of microgrids, is about to get more clean and reliable power thanks to an ABB microgrid being developed in Anchorage.

The ABB microgrid is designed to test scalability and improve power stability for around 300,000 people in the state’s largest city, and home to half of Alaska’s population. It will combine two energy storage technologies: batteries and flywheels.

Initiated by Chugach Electric Association, the project is designed to help the utility identify technologies that will allow for integration of more renewables, including wind power from a 17 MW wind farm on Fire Island, about 2 1/2 miles off the coast of Anchorage.

ABB uses a modular and containerized microgrid technology that it calls PowerStore, which includes flywheels and batteries. The flywheel will facilitate the integration of fluctuating wind power and the battery will be used for long-term storage. The battery has a capacity of 500 kWh hours with a maximum performance of 2 MW.

“We are delighted to partner with a visionary utility like Chugach Electric, to build this microgrid which incorporates a hybrid storage solution to enhance reliability of power supply,” said Massimo Danieli, managing director of ABB’s grid automation business unit, a part of the company’s Power Grids division. “Integration of  renewables is a key element of the energy revolution and a major focus area of our Next Level strategy.”

The ABB Microgrid Plus control system will monitor the hybrid storage solution and ensure proper load sharing between the two storage mediums. It is also equipped for remote service and maintenance.

“This innovative solution shows how energy storage technology can boost renewable energy penetration in Alaska and have far reaching implications for new renewable projects on the Railbelt as well as in smaller Alaskan communities,” said Paul Risse, senior vice president of power supply at Chugach Electric.

The ABB microgrid adds to an already large cluster of microgrids in Alaska identified by Navigant Research. The state is a ready-made environment for microgrids with its fierce weather and lack of grid infrastructure in remote regions.

Because of Alaska’s success with microgrids, its senior U.S. Senator, Lisa Murkowski, has become a strong Republican advocate for the technology in Congress.

Alaska’s senior U.S. Senator, Lisa Murkowski, has become a strong Republican advocate for microgrids in Congress.

Worldwide, ABB has installed about 40 microgrids, across a diverse range of applications serving remote communities, islands, utilities and industrial campuses. The company operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees. ABB has invested heavily in North America, with acquisitions totaling nearly $10 billion.

ABB’s Anchorage microgrid was announced at this week’s DistribuTECH conference in San Diego, a major electric industry trade show.

Microgrid Knowledge is reporting this week from DistribuTECH. Catch the news by following us on Twitter @MicrogridNews.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

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