ABB Adds Flywheel to Remote Kodiak Island Microgrid

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ABB reported today that it will install its flywheel technology on a microgrid for the Kodiak Electric Association, an electric cooperative owned by residents of Kodiak Island in Alaska.

Known as PowerStore, the flywheel will let the microgrid integrate more renewable energy from an expanded wind farm. It also will address stability challenges that will arise from a crane upgrade being undertaken to enhance port operations.

Kodiak Island, off Alaska’s south coast, is the second largest island in the United States. Its population of 15,000 people live in seven communities, the largest in the port town of Kodiak. KEA operates a microgrid that generates virtually all of its 28 MW from hydropower and wind.

The City of Kodiak and Horizon Lines recently decided to swap a diesel crane with an electrically driven crane. The new, larger crane could cause power fluctuations that destabilize the isolated grid.

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“Expanding the crane operations at the port posed a challenge because it meant that we would likely have to rely more heavily on our fossil fuel-based generators,” said Darron Scott, KEA’s president and CEO. “Not only will the ABB solution allow us to shave the peaks off the crane loads, it will also reduce the stresses placed on our battery systems and extend their lifespans.”

ABB will use two 1 MW PowerStore grid stabilization generators that are based on a fast-acting, spinning flywheel with ABB inverters. The system stores short term energy and can absorb or inject both real and reactive power onto the microgrid.

Besides providing voltage and frequency support for the new crane, the PowerStore units will extend the life of the two 1.5 MW battery systems and help to manage the intermittencies from the island’s 9 MW wind farm.

“Remote locations like islands may be rich in renewable energy sources, but the intermittent nature makes their integration into the power grid a challenge,” said Claudio Facchin, head of ABB’s Power Systems business. “ABB’s innovative microgrid solution as in this case includes grid stabilization technology that enables high penetration of renewable power generation, and distributed control systems that provide intelligent power management and efficient hybrid power plant operation.”

ABB says it has designed and delivered solutions for more than 80 microgrids worldwide, for a wide range of applications.

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  1. […] Flywheels, however, can accommodate that kind of task. So ABB installed 2 MW of flywheel capacity, which now handles the deep and frequent charges and discharges that the crane requires. (Read more about the Kodiak Island project.) […]