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In a first, TVA to install its own 40-MWh battery storage system

Construction
Credit: Photo by Yancy Min on Unsplash

Yesterday, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced the installation of its first owned and operated, grid-scale, battery energy storage system near an industrial complex in Vonore, Tennessee, 35 miles southwest of Knoxville.

The Vonore Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will use lithium-ion batteries to store 40 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy.

Once fully operational, by 2022, the system will provide high-quality power to local industrial customers served by Loudoun Utilities Board, says TVA. The Vonore BESS aims to improve the quality of electrical service provided to local manufacturing facilities without building additional transmission lines.

According to Loudoun City Manager, and Utilities Board General Manager, Ty Ross, “The battery energy system will allow energy to be stored when demand and prices are low for use when demand is higher, reducing costs for Loudon Utilities and local industries.”

The Vonore BESS will be TVA’s first battery storage system to go online, but not the only grid-scale battery storage system that TVA will use. In February, TVA announced a solar project in Lowndes County, Mississippi, for its Green Invest programs that will include 200 MWh of battery energy storage.

Both battery storage projects are part of the 2019 TVA Integrated Resource Plan, a comprehensive study that shapes how TVA will provide low-cost, reliable and clean energy for the next 20 years. Additionally, the IRP calls for adding up to 5 gigawatts (GW) of energy storage capacity through 2038.

“TVA engineers, scientists and technicians are continually working with our industry partners to shape the future of the energy marketplace and power the long-term economic health of our seven-state region,” said Dr. Joe Hoagland, vice president, TVA Innovation and Research. “We are developing and investing in the latest and best technologies to ensure the steady flow of reliable and clean energy as we build out the nation’s premier energy system.”

Senior Manager Dale Harris, who leads research and development for TVA, states, “This pilot project will help us to innovate and adopt new technologies that will provide businesses clean, low-cost, reliable electricity while helping them meet their sustainability goals.”