FREQCON goes Alaska – with our first distributed energy storage project in the USA: We are contracted by Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AVEC) to deliver 2 battery storage systems as turnkey container solutions. An MSC converter with a power of 500 kW and a battery storage system consisting of LiPO4 batteries with an installed capacity of 671 kWh will be integrated in each container. All auxiliaries and HVAC system are included as well.
One of the challenges was that the system design had to take into account the prevailing weather conditions. In winter, temperatures drop to -40 °C and a lot of snow falls. In addition to the extreme cold, large amounts of snow can hinder the proper operation of the systems. For this reason, the free-standing containers are placed on a concrete base with a height of 50 cm and, in addition, grids are installed to allow snow to pass through, so that no snowdrifts can form directly near the containers. In addition, powerful heating systems will be installed to allow a required base temperature inside the containers even when they are not in use.
Reliable supply in remote locations
This project is the first of its kind in the remote and largest U.S. state. Alaska has about 730,000 inhabitants and has the lowest population density of all US states. Remote places often have no connection to the power grid and mostly generate their own electricity with diesel generators. In the past, wind turbines (WT) were coupled with those generators. The disadvantage here is that when the wind is down, the diesel generators are often not fast enough to compensate for the lack of power. There is always the threat of a complete system failure. For this reason, generators coupled to a WT run constantly at 30 to 50 percent load to increase the reliability of the grid. However, this is harmful to the environment and uneconomical in view of the high price of oil and the costly logistics involved. With our battery storage systems and grid-forming converter technology, remote villages in Alaska will be able to make their energy supply reliable in the future, reduce their diesel consumption for power generators, and reduce the size and running time of diesel generators. This will increase the share of renewable energy in these isolated grids. Commissioning of the first plant is scheduled for March 2022. This project is financially supported by The Denali Commission, The Alaska Energy Authority, Sandia National Laboratories, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative and Alaska Center for Energy & Power.