California Water District to Implement Energy Storage Systems

Northern Power Systems, a subsidiary of Distributed Energy Systems Corp., has been contracted to design, engineer and install an advanced energy storage system for the Palmdale Water District's Southern California water treatment plant and adjacent pumping facility...

WAITSFIELD, VT, May 26, 2005 -- Northern Power Systems, a subsidiary of Distributed Energy Systems Corp., has been contracted to design, engineer and install an advanced energy storage system for the Palmdale Water District's Southern California water treatment plant and adjacent pumping facility. Northern Power's $1.1 million contract with the water district is funded in part by a $1 million grant awarded by the California Energy Commission (CEC) on the basis of the project's potential commercial application across the state.

Northern Power will also develop supervisory system controls and monitoring capabilities. In combination with the energy storage system, the controls and monitoring capabilities are expected to optimize the performance of several distributed generation (DG) assets, enabling the Palmdale district to reduce operating costs.

Northern Power will also be working with the U.S. Department of Energy to measure and analyze system performance, and with Black & Veatch, a global engineering, consulting and construction company, to integrate the system with existing on-site generation assets.

"We are optimistic that this project will enhance technical knowledge about how to improve power reliability and quality, both for the Palmdale project as well as in future applications," said Jonathan Lynch, Northern Power's chief technology officer.

Energy Storage System

Northern's Power Technology Group (PTG) will integrate its power conversion, switching and controls solutions with Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitor modules to create a system that will provide critical load support for the protected loads. In the event of a grid outage, the system will be capable of creating short-term power as the transition is made to on-site or backup generation power. The system will be able to support 450 kW for 20 ¿ 60 seconds depending on the loads, enough time to bring a generator on line and avoid any interruption in power at the Palmdale facility.

Designed to operate in parallel with the utility, the energy storage system will provide continuous power quality improvement in the form of voltage support, power factor correction, harmonic dampening, and transient mitigation. This architecture will not only facilitate integration of backup generators, but also simplify integration of DG devices such as microturbines, fuel cells and wind turbines into advanced MicroGrid power networks or other systems with multiple distributed generation assets. Additionally, the energy storage system has the potential to deliver substantial benefits to utilities by providing reactive power support and grid stabilization, thereby delaying the costs of distribution upgrades.

Utilizing Generation Assets at the Palmdale Site

The system controls and Northern Power's SmartView remote monitoring software will optimize use of current Palmdale power sources, which include a 200 kW natural gas generator, and an 800 kW backup generator, and a 250 kW hydroelectric plant to be commissioned later this year. An adjacent Palmdale facility, which includes a recently installed 950 kW wind turbine, will be included in the system monitoring and controls. After installation, the team will analyze how the local distribution system interacts with the energy storage system during power disturbances.

"With a variety of power generation methods already on-site, and given high utility demand charges, this integrated system will allow us to control operation of our assets based on utility billing rates and available local wind, hydro and natural gas fired resources," said Dennis LaMoreaux, General Manager of the Palmdale Water District.

Setting a Trend for the Future

The project can serve as a model for future systems to follow as well, noted Jito Coleman, president of Northern Power.

"We expect the Palmdale project to demonstrate to other energy-intensive sites and industries how this energy storage architecture ¿ along with smart controls, generation dispatch and load management ¿ can be designed to function together to deliver multiple benefits," Coleman stated. "These benefits can include lower electricity costs, reduced financial losses, transmission and distribution support, and overall enhanced service reliability."

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