Building on its 100-year commitment to innovation and historic focus on the research and development of emerging energy solutions, Southern Company (No. 44 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) and its Gulf Power subsidiary today officially launched the latest battery storage research project in Southern Company’s operating territory. The project represents another important milestone in the company’s work to build the future of energy.
The McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration will demonstrate the capabilities and requirements of an energy storage system designed to help industrial and commercial customers store and use energy on demand, while improving resiliency and potentially helping customers save on energy costs in the future.
Located in Pensacola, Florida, at Gulf Power’s Douglas L. McCrary Training and Storm Center, the new research project will test and evaluate a 250 kilowatt/1 megawatt-hour Tesla Powerpack lithium-ion industrial energy storage system over a two-year period. Insights gained from the demonstration are expected to accelerate the development of battery storage technology across the Southern Company system. The lithium-ion technology under evaluation is the same battery chemistry used in electric vehicles and consumer electronics such as laptops.
Company executives and experts hosted a commissioning and ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the project’s opening.
“At Southern Company, we are constantly broadening our industry-leading expertise to harness new technologies that can deliver clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy to customers,” said Southern Company Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kimberly S. Greene. “This collaborative research project with Gulf Power will deepen our understanding of battery energy storage systems and the value they can provide.”
“Gulf Power is proud to be involved in this battery energy storage demonstration at the McCrary Training and Storm Center and to be in the forefront of evaluating innovative energy technologies,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power chairman, president and CEO. “Throughout our history, we have been host to the development of energy solutions that have resulted in greater energy efficiency, cleaner energy production and value for our customers – and this commissioning event signals our ongoing commitment to build a better energy future.”
The McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration was developed by Southern Company research and development in partnership with Gulf Power and in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute’s Integrated Grid Initiative and Tesla.
Specifically, the project aims to further the understanding of the siting, installation and operational requirements of commercial- and industrial-scale energy storage systems. It will provide information on the advantages battery storage can offer customers and energy providers through peak shaving, demand management, ancillary services, energy arbitrage and backup power.
Southern Company remains at the forefront of accelerating the development and deployment of energy storage systems that will offer many benefits and great promise to the electric utility industry. From greater reliability to increased use of renewable energy to reduced prices for customers, energy storage has the potential to further enable the smart grid and help utilities meet customers’ needs.
The McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration is just one component of Southern Company’s energy storage research portfolio, which includes residential-, commercial-, industrial- and utility-scale battery projects in locations across the company’s Southeastern electric service territory.
The Southern Company system has managed approximately $2.3 billion in R&D investments, leading to the development of technologies that will revolutionize the production, delivery and end-use of energy.
Another example of Southern Company’s many innovations includes a recently announced strategic alliance between subsidiary PowerSecure and Advanced Microgrid Solutions. The companies will jointly develop and deploy behind-the-meter distributed energy resources across the U.S. Last year, Southern Company and PowerSecure announced a strategic alliance with Bloom Energy that includes project investment and joint technology development.