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A123 Systems to supply 1MW Li-ion grid storage system to Maui Electric Company; 2MW system for NSTAR demonstration

Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems will supply a Grid Battery System (GBS) to Maui Electric Company (MECO), a utility serving residents and businesses on the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai in Hawaii. To be installed at MECO’s Wailea Substation on Maui, the advanced energy storage system will be designed to deliver one-megawatt (1MW) of power for a full hour to reduce the peak energy load on one of the substation’s transformers, which is expected to increase grid stability and improve power quality to help MECO meet the objectives of the Maui Smart Grid Project.

A123Systems is also launching a pilot project with NSTAR—the largest Massachusetts-based, investor-owned electric and gas utility— to study and showcase the performance and reliability benefits of implementing a GBS within a suburban electric grid. The system, NSTAR’s first battery energy storage project, is proposed for installation at a substation in Medway, Mass. and is expected to be operational in 2012.

Maui Electric. Led by MECO and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, the Maui Smart Grid Project is designed to help MECO demonstrate and evaluate new technologies for operating the electric grid more efficiently. The project also aims to help residents better manage and reduce energy consumption during periods of high demand.

Specific objectives include reducing distribution circuit peak load, minimizing emissions, enabling greater utilization of renewable energy sources and improving power quality and grid stability.

A123’s GBS storage systems are designed to provide a complete, turnkey solution to help MECO meet these objectives by providing a number of services in addition to peak-load shifting, including regulating voltage fluctuation, reactive power (VAR) support and relieving wind curtailment.

NSTAR. Under the terms of the agreement, one of A123’s two-megawatt (2MW) GBS solutions is proposed to be interconnected to the power grid at NSTAR’s substation in Medway. It will be owned and operated by A123, and will be designed to provide area regulation services, which are used to address momentary differences between electric power supply and demand.

A123 expects to earn revenue from these area regulation services from ISO-New England (ISO-NE) as part of the Alternative Technology Regulation (ATR) Pilot Program, which allows “non-generating resources” such as advanced energy storage systems to receive compensation for area regulation and other ancillary services.

In addition, the pilot project is expected to allow A123 to learn more about how its GBS performs in real-world applications in order to facilitate further product improvements designed to reduce total cost of ownership.

GBS. A123’s GBS applies the technology used in hybrid electric transportation to meet the power sector’s growing need for energy storage. The GBS cales in modular increments of 500 kWh, and can support applications such as frequency regulation; spinning reserve; renewable integration; and smart grid implementation.


Dave R

I thought it'd be interesting to compare how many MWh Nissan has produced since the LEAF's launch. Nissan has sold about 20,000 LEAFs - with 24 kWh in each car, that's about 480 MWh of batteries. With 7500 Volts sold, even that is 120 MWh of batteries.

Toyota having sold over 2 million Prii over 10 years - and with each Prius battery having about 1.3 kWh of battery results in 2.6 GWh of batteries sold. But on an annual basis Nissan is producing far more batteries than Toyota in their first year of production.

I wonder how many batteries has A123 sold? They're going to need to sell a decent number of GBS storage systems to catch up to Nissan's manufacturing - Each 1 MWh system holds about the same amount of energy as 50 LEAFs.


Mitsubishi has sold something like 15,000 of the iMiEVs, so that is around another 240MW


24 hybrids with 1 kwh will save more fuel than 1 EV with 24 kwh.


A123 is carving out a product sector that will grow as the grid shrinks to micro-grids serving very small communities and neighborhoods. The advantages to this over "smart" old grids are myriad. Reliability, and MUCH lower cost due to distributed local power production. The need for sub-stations, line transformers, circuit breakers, overhead tranmission wire, etc. is eliminated.

A single GBS in a distributed energy neighborhood (50 residences produce their own heat & power CHP) provides all the leveling, smoothing and UPS services needed. Without making EV owners connect to a "smart grid" that must charge 15-30 cents/kWh to pay for its tangle of hardware,software,generating/transmission/maintenance systems.

Electricity costs are heading to well under 1 cent/kWh and hydro, solar, grid, wind etc. will have trouble competing. But localized energy storage makes sense.


24 hybrids with 1 kwh will save more fuel than 1 EV with 24 kwh
The correct comparison is 24 hybrids vs 24 EV's, and of course the EV's win.


No, the "correct" comparison is what you do with a limited supply of expensive batteries to reduce oil imports the most.


Let's see, most hybrids still use NiMH cells, so they don't even compete for the same chemistry, and by all accounts there is more than enough battery production capacity to meet demand. In fact unless there are hybrids that can't be built because of lack of batteries your argument, which is the same one that John Petersen on Seeking Alpha tries to use, has no merit at all.


what ever...


Yeah, sometimes these pesky things called "facts" mess up a pet theory.

Vitaly Vinogradov

BYD just built similar plat with 36MWh capacity in China.

But BYD is way bigger then A123...


You have no facts, just your way of looking at things. Others have a more rational way of looking at allocating resources.

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