With no grid connection and a remote location, local utility Cordova Electric Cooperative (CEC) wanted an energy storage system as a key building block of its RADIANCE (Resilient Alaskan Distribution system, Improvements using Automation Network analysis, Control and Energy storage) programme.

Cordova Electric’s objective is to enhance the resilience of its distribution grid in the face of harsh weather, cyber threat and dynamic grid conditions.

The energy storage system, rated at 1 MW with 1 MWh energy storage capacity, integrated with an ABB power converter and control system (similar to a previous installation elsewhere in Alaska), will minimise consumption of costly imported fuel and enhance the community’s self-reliance.

Cordova is located at the mouth of the salmon-rich Copper River and has an extensive fish processing industry, which places extra load on Cordova Electric Cooperative over the summer months. Before implementing the energy storage system, CEC had to deflect around 500 kW of hydro power to use as capacity to maintain frequency, in a similar way to spinning reserve in a conventional grid. In addition, as fish processors ramp up production in the spring, CEC had to operate a diesel genset at its minimum output of 400 kW to enable CEC to meet spikes in demand. As a result, the operator was losing almost 1 MW of renewable power capacity.

By using the ESS to provide frequency response and meet peak demand, Cordova Electric Cooperative can make full use of its hydropower and postpone the need to use diesel generation. Clay Koplin, CEO of CEC describes it as “a logical step in our proposed journey to meet 100% of our needs with local hydropower.”