Greensmith and AEP launches hybrid hydro energy storage project in USA

Greensmith Energy, a Wärtsilä Company, and American Electric Power (AEP) have agreed to install a 4 MW energy storage system integrated with the Buck and Byllesby hydroelectric power plants in southwest Virginia, USA. The integration of advanced energy storage and software with hydroelectric generation is seen to be a world’s first hybridized system of its kind to provide ancillary services.

The system, due to begin operating in the first quarter of 2018, will deliver PJM frequency regulation market (PJM=Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland power pool) one of the first new energy storage systems since the adoption of new frequency regulation signals and requirements for regulation service. Harnessing Greensmith’s GEMS software platform that offers multiple storage applications, the project will serve both of PJM’s frequency regulation markets, including traditional regulation known as RegA and dynamic regulation known as RegD.

“The advent and growth of hybridized power, enabled by the integration of intelligent energy storage, has always been a key part of our technology vision,” said Greensmith CEO John Jung. “Although we’ve delivered six grid-scale energy storage systems to the PJM market, this innovative hybrid project will see AEP raise the standard for hydroelectric use-cases globally. And the potential for hybridization is massive as hydroelectricity represents over 1,000 gigawatts of generation globally, roughly a sixth of the world’s total.”

Expected to operate for 20 years, the programmable energy storage system running on the GEMS software platform can optimize participation between RegA and RegD signals based fluctuations in market values over time. Now as a Wärtsilä Company, Greensmith continues to invest in advancing energy storage, integration and software technology – all towards the future hybridization of the electricity grid.

Buck and Byllesby are operated by Appalachian Power, a utility subsidiary of AEP. The hydroelectric plants have been in operation since 1912 and are located on New River.