Microgrid Energy Storage Case Study

March 26, 2015
Energy storage systems are already serving as a vital component of smart microgrid projects. Here is a case study on how these systems are making a difference on a daily basis for one town in Texas.

Microgrid energy storage systems are already serving as a vital component of smart microgrid projects. Here is a case study on how one community microgrid system is making a difference on a daily basis.

In Presidio, Texas—one of the oldest cities in the state—frequent electrical storms have a major impact on power reliability. Residents rely on a single, aging transmission line to connect them to centralized utility generators, and this line is difficult to access and repair because it’s located in a remote area covering rugged terrain. As a result, the city has been vulnerable to frequent, extended power outages.

Listed as one of the hottest places in the nation, Presidio residents swelter when their aging transmission line fails, leaving them in the dark. In addition to the loss of air conditioning and lights, computer systems must reset each time power goes off and comes back on. This is of particular concern for law enforcement authorities in a town with an active border crossing with Mexico.

To address this problem, local utility Electric Transmission Texas installed a 4-megawatt sodium sulfur battery system as a backup power source to mitigate voltage fluctuations and short-term utility outages. The battery system is controlled through an S&C Electric PureWave® SMS Storage Management System, which responds rapidly to changing power system conditions. The PureWave SMS is an automatic power converter and controller that manages the battery charging process, then discharges the stored energy into the electrical grid when needed.

Now, when the grid is challenged to meet peak demand, such as when air conditioning usage spikes during a heat wave, the backup storage system immediately kicks in, relieving strain on the utility grid. In the case of an outage, the energy storage can support the entire town’s load for up to six hours, providing much-needed time to fix the problem or secure centralized generation from across the border in Mexico—a process that can take several hours.

The Presidio battery backup system and its intelligent controls are improving power reliability for residents of the city and surrounding areas, enabling them to keep their lights, air conditioners and computers running. The ability of this energy storage system to reduce power outages and shave peak  demand makes a compelling business case for the technology.

This case study is part of the white paper called The Role of Energy Energy in the Smart Microgrid from S&C Electric and available for download from the Microgrid Knowledge White Paper Library. Click here for the full white paper.

About the Author

Kevin Normandeau | Publisher

Kevin is a veteran of the publishing industry having worked for brands like PC World, AOL, Network World, Data Center Knowledge and other business to business sites. He focuses on industry trends in the energy efficiency industry.

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