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AES integrates 20 MW of A123 Li-ion storage with 544 MW thermal power plant

AES Gener and AES Energy Storage have begun commercial operation of the second energy storage project in Northern Chile, integrating 20MW of Li-ion battery-based energy storage (BESS) with a 544MW thermal power plant. The BESS comprises approximately one million lithium-ion battery cells, divided between ten 2MW battery containers, and five 4MW power controls containers. A123 Systems supplied the energy storage systems for the project. The power controls modules were provided by ABB.

The project is owned by AES Gener, the second largest power generator in the country, and will operate through its subsidiary, Empresa Eléctrica Angamos S.A. (Angamos). AES Energy Storage, a leader in energy storage partnerships, marks another commercial project to employ the company’s advanced reserves product.

This project builds on the success of an initial partnership between the two companies, both subsidiaries of the AES Corporation, to develop a 12MW energy storage system integrated with AES Gener’s Norgener power plant. Located at an electrical substation 172 kilometers (107 miles) from Antofagasta, Chile, the Los Andes Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has been delivering a similar reliability service since 2009.

Much like a hybrid electric vehicle incorporates a battery component to improve efficiency, combining battery storage with a traditional power plant allows the plant to more effectively use its own generated power while continuing to provide essential spinning reserve services.

The advanced reserve capacity provided by the storage technology will enable the Angamos plant to generate an additional 20MW of energy at virtually all times throughout the year, which would otherwise be tied up to maintain the plant’s grid reliability responsibilities in the case of unexpected transmission loss, the failure of a power generator, or another accident that might otherwise necessitate reduced power to customers. As a result, this newly available energy will increase power generation from the Angamos plant by 4%.

Designed, built and operational in just fifteen months, the energy storage system provides superior speed and response to any system reliability event such as loss of transmission, or loss of a power generator. Fast response enables the power system operator to maintain and restore the grid with less shedding of load from customers or other disruptive actions. In 2011, the first 12MW project in Los Andes was noted by the region’s grid operator, CDEC-SING, as one of the best performing reserve units in Northern Chile.

AES Energy Storage worked with AES Gener throughout the design, development, and installation of the Angamos BESS. AES Energy Storage worked with CDEC-SING, AES Gener and its partners to configure the parameters of the advanced reserves product enabling the Angamos BESS to meet the performance requirements of the electrical system operator and respond autonomously within established parameters. The advanced reserves product also features system monitoring, SCADA and integration with other operational systems to ensure product performance and high reliability.



This is a great advance for load balancing, much greater than the seemingly modest increment.


This is great news for A123. I wonder if there is anything intrisically advantageous about A123s chemistry relative to some of the higher energy cathodes for example. I know the phosphate cathode is very current tolerant, and maybe that is an advantage, but it has been largely touted as a safer cathode, and that seems less important in a stationary application. Your not carrying passengers who could be endangered by a battery failure. Although, I think that is a largely overblow aspect of battery performance determinations since except for the LiCo2 cathodes most others are relatively stable and the batteries when suitably controlled by a BMS are way safer than gasoline. Anyway, my thought is that perhaps the higher energy cathodes would be cheaper in this particular application application. Like I said though, the phosphate cathode definitely can handle high currents. Thoughts anyone?

Henry Gibson

At least there is some artistic value in putting a million cells to work. A millions cells put in series could run a useful linear accelerator, But it would be more interesting to put several million photovoltaic cells in a big circle in a desert for an accelerator that would amase physicists of the 1920s.

A series string of A123 cells could even connect directly to the DC California transmission lines and save the cost of some conversion equipment.

Vanadium ion flow batteries still have great promise for grid applications and other.

An array of many engine generators might be cheaper in the long run and certainly in first cost. ABB might even be able to build some that would connect to a high voltage without a transformer with their cable wound technology.

There is no doubt that batteries will become part of the grid, and this is a very good place for ZEBRA batteries and the equivalent Durathon units that GE threatens to make every so often. NGK sodium sulfur units could be the cheapest in the long run, but they catch fire every so often like some lithium ones.

Time magazine in the US promoted a professor who was building another molten salt battery which will not be commercial any time soon but uses gravity to separate reactants like the old telegraph batteries in jars. ..HG..


Energy and power per mass and volume are relevant for moving but not so much for stationary applications: it's all about cost. So I doubt your thought - I'd bet that the ingredient and so overall cost of iron phosphate batteries is cheaper.

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