Bermuda Electric Light Company installs 10-MW/5.5-MWh energy storage system

BELCO's headquarters. Credit: Bermuda Electric Light Company.

Yesterday, energy storage company Saft said it delivered and installed a turnkey Energy Storage System to Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO). The system provides up to 10 MW power for spinning reserves and frequency response to maintain grid stability and has a storage capacity of 5.5MWh, said the company. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on May 16.

Like many islands, Bermuda has relied on imported fuel to generate its electricity. However, the island is modernizing its approach to generation, distribution and sales after the Government of Bermuda passed the Electricity Act in 2016. This prompted BELCO to develop a long-term plan, which includes measures to improve energy efficiency and energy storage.

Spinning reserves are essential to provide backup power in case a generator experiences a sudden outage. They are named after the historic practice of keeping generators idling (with their internal components spinning) so that they are ready to ramp up to full power within a few minutes.

The Saft ESS provides spinning reserves, allowing the grid operator to switch off generators and save fuel. In addition, the ESS provides frequency response services, by injecting or absorbing energy to or from the grid within seconds to maintain consistent frequency and grid stability.

Saft was responsible for the design, delivery and installation of the ESS and connection to BELCO’s grid. The containerized Li-ion battery system was built by the company in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to the batteries, the ESS integrates control and monitoring equipment, as well as power conversion components supplied by ABB and all of the equipment was installed and energized by DELTRO.

Stephanie Simons, Mechanical Engineer at BELCO Power Generation said: "The ESS for BELCO will integrate energy efficient power conversion equipment as a package with a 20-year asset life.”

Alexandra Goodson, Director for ESS in the U.S., attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.

"Bermuda is leading the example for island utilities by modernizing its approach to electric power generation, distribution and sales.  Saft is pleased to be a part of this effort by saving BELCO approximately 2 million dollars per year in operating and maintenance costs with our Saft Energy Storage System,” she said.

Energy storage is a track at POWERGEN International, set to hit New Orleans on November 19-21, 2019.

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