Portland General Electric taps ESS to provide 3MWh Energy Storage for test project

Jan. 14, 2022
ESS platform would come online midway through this year and be used to demonstrate several benefits such as frequency response, contingency reserve, voltage and VAR (volt-ampere reactive) support

Pacific Northwest municipal utility Portland General Electric will agreed on testing and demonstration of a 3-MWh battery storage alternative to lithium-ion systems.

Long-duration energy storage, iron-flow battery manufacturer ESS Inc. will provide its Energy Center platform for the testing and demonstration of the technology. The 3-MWh ESS platform would come online midway through this year and be used to demonstrate several benefits such as frequency response, contingency reserve, voltage and VAR (volt-ampere reactive) support, demand response and resource optimization, according to the release.

The project will be on land adjacent to ESS’s factory headquarters in Wilsonville, Oregon.

Portland General Electric, which serves about 900,000 customers in the region, is moving actively to embrace energy storage and renewables to decarbonize its generation mix.

“Building a reliable, affordable clean energy future requires us working together with industry innovators,” said Darren Murtaugh, Senior Manager of Grid Edge Solutions at PGE. “Our collaboration with ESS on the Energy Center will provide important learnings on our path to meeting our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.”

The Energy Center is the ESS “battery-in-a-building” platform designed for utility-scale, front-of-meter applications that decouples power and storage capacity to eventually enable up to GW-scale projects with variable storage durations ranging up to 12 hours.

“As an American manufacturer of safe, sustainable long-duration energy storage technology for a growing global market, I couldn’t be happier that the first Energy Center deployment will be right here in our backyard with Portland General Electric,” said Eric Dresselhuys, CEO of ESS. “The Energy Center platform has been developed as a flexible long-duration storage solution with a planned 25-year operating life, and this project will help PGE work towards its renewable energy targets.”

Barely a decade old as a company, ESS already is moving into several supply deals with major utilities in the battery storage and microgrid spaces. Last month, ESS Tech announced that utility San Diego Gas & Electric has selected its iron flow batteries to join with the solar arrays in the microgrid being built in the Cameron Corners community.

The Cameron Corners Microgrid is part of SDG&E’s 2020 Wildfire Mitigation Program.

EnergyTech spoke to leaders at ESS this week during the Intersolar-Energy Storage North America conference in Long Beach, California. A story on that interview will be forthcoming.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can reached at [email protected]).

About the Author

Rod Walton, EnergyTech Managing Editor | Senior Editor

For EnergyTech editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

Rod Walton has spent 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. He formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

Walton earned his Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. His career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World. 

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

He was named Managing Editor for Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech starting July 1, 2023

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.