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US DOE Offers $17M Conditional Commitment for Li-ion Based Grid Storage System with A123 Cells

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has offered AES Energy Storage, LLC a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee for $17.1 million to support the construction of a 20 megawatt (MW) energy storage system using advanced lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) The AES project, located in Johnson City, New York, will help provide a more stable and efficient electrical grid for the state’s high-voltage transmission network.

Traditionally, grid frequency regulation, which is needed to balance power generation and consumption on the grid, is maintained by burning additional fossil fuels at power plants. The AES project eliminates the need to burn fossil fuels and instead uses battery technology and new software that will provide the same regulation at a lower price. This advanced frequency regulation capability will allow renewable electricity generation to play a larger role in New York's transmission network.

The AES technology can help reduce carbon emissions by 70% compared to frequency regulation provided by fossil energy suppliers.

The AES project will include advanced lithium-ion battery cells from A123 Systems, Inc. The contained battery and related electrical systems are assembled, tested and validated in an A123 manufacturing facility in Hopkinton, MA.



Distributed storage and generation can help. Solar panels and CHP with cooling will help as well. I suggest that we consider SBA Ventures, where equity in the company is taken in exchange for capital. This would start lots of companies employing lots of people and we get our energy picture improved as well.


Here is an article that suggests we find new ways of funding new companies. "Let's fund every entrepreneur".

While I do not agree with the title, venture funding is a severe bottleneck. Most of the workers are employed by companies employing less than 100 people and refinancing the homes to start those companies went away.


I am not sure why they would want to use expensive lithium batteries instead of flow batteries. Does anyone have an explanation for this?

Has the price of lithium battery technology dropped so much as to make this economically feasible?


What does a "20 megawatt storage system" mean? Do they mean it stores 20mWh (which is a measure of the energy it can store) or did they mean it can provide 20mW which is a measure of power it can provide and they simply don't talk about the amount of energy it can store.
I wish people would start to learn the difference if they are going to write articles in this industry.

If they actually DO mean that it's a 20mW system, then Anne's question might be answered: Perhaps they still use the flow battery to hold all the energy and use this to smooth the curve better as some kind of buffer???


Distributed storage makes more sense. Every house and building with solar panels and batteries could even things out nicely. It would provide UPS protection and quick charge cars.


Interesting point SJC. It may be a little bit more expensive at first, but think about what it could do to stop rolling brown-outs and condition the power curve into your household in addition to suppling some quick charge for your car when needed.

Maybe if they get to a good solution that is affordable, we will start to see it as a standard feature on new homes built and an upgrade we could buy for the rest of us.


Yes, distributed systems make perfect sense. Where solar and storage is impractical (cloudy climes) CHP fueled by low cost NG is the answer. At present only Honda has a practical CHP unit on market utilizing an ICE genset for the power component.

We need to see low temp SOFCs like Bloom Box come online for residences and small business. This will lower need for grid conditioning and lower demand for new power plants. It will also greatly improve energy security, provide thousands of jobs and eliminate need for overhead power lines. Win, win, win.


We could see SOFCs replace furnaces, water heaters and ACs. They would provide electricity to take the heat producing load off of transformers. We might see this when it is available at Sears. People need to have it available at a convenient, risk free outlet for widespread adoption.

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