In a groundbreaking leap towards sustainability, Plus Power’s Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) facility in Hawaii has commenced commercial operations. As Hawaii bids farewell to its last coal plant, KES takes center stage, offering an innovative solution to maintain grid reliability amid the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The Kapolei Energy Storage system is considered the most advanced grid-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) in the world. These rechargeable batteries can store energy from various sources and discharge it when necessary, providing backup power and improving grid stability. Developed and owned by Houston-based Plus Power, the project features 158 Tesla Megapacks with a total capacity of 185 megawatts of instantaneous discharge, matching the power output of the retired coal plant.

Hawaii’s decision to shut down its last coal plant in September 2022 marked a significant step in the state’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2045. However, ensuring grid reliability with a mix of renewable sources subject to weather fluctuations posed a challenge.

The Kapolei Energy Storage system addresses this challenge by absorbing excess power from the grid during renewable generation peaks and delivering it during high-demand evening hours. Brandon Keefe, Executive Chairman of Plus Power, expressed pride in contributing to Hawaii’s renewable energy goals and enabling the transition, stating, “This project is a postcard from the future — batteries will soon be providing these services, at scale, on the mainland.”

Despite construction setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the project’s remote location, KES is now operational, outpacing several other renewable energy projects in replacing the retired coal plant’s capacity. This gigantic battery project aligns with Hawaii’s commitment to becoming a leader in clean energy adoption and grid transformation.

Going beyond energy provision, the Kapolei Energy Storage system offers multifaceted grid stabilization. While the old coal plant provided energy, capacity, and grid services, the battery directly replaces the latter two aspects. With 185 megawatts of instantaneous discharge capacity, the Kapolei system matches the coal plant’s power output. Moreover, it provides grid services such as synthetic inertia and fast frequency response, ensuring grid stability in real-time.

As the world’s most advanced battery energy storage system, Kapolei Energy Storage represents a significant milestone in Hawaii’s clean energy revolution. It sets the stage for the future implementation of similar projects on the mainland, paving the way for a sustainable and resilient energy infrastructure.

Source: Carbon Credits