First TVA-Owned Battery Storage To Shape Energy Future

Monday, September 21, 2020
Battery Energy Storage rendering
Battery Energy Storage rendering

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Monday that it is installing TVA’s first owned and operated, grid-scale, battery energy storage system near an industrial complex in Vonore, Tn., about 35 miles southwest of Knoxville.  

“TVA is building the energy grid of the future,” said Senior Manager Dale Harris, who leads research and development for TVA. “This pilot project will help us to innovate and adopt new technologies that will provide businesses clean, low-cost, reliable electricity while helping them meet their sustainability goals."

Known as the Vonore Battery Energy Storage System, the project will use lithium-ion batteries, the same technology used in most electric vehicles, to store 40 megawatt-hours of energy. That is enough electricity to power over 10,600 homes for three hours.

When the facility is operational in 2022, the battery energy system will provide high-quality power to local industrial customers served by Loudoun Utilities Board. The Vonore BESS will improve the quality of electrical service provided to local manufacturing facilities without building additional transmission lines, said officials.

According to Loudon City Manager and Loudon Utilities Board General Manager Ty Ross, the battery energy system will allow energy to be stored when demand and prices are low for use when demand is higher, reducing costs for Loudon Utilities and local industries. “TVA’s battery will provide premium power for the industrial complex customers we serve,” said Ross.

The Vonore BESS will also serve as a test bed as TVA prepares to meet future energy needs. “We are at the forefront of using large-scale battery storage,” said Mr. Harris. “Battery storage has many energy applications, and the Vonore BESS will help TVA make broader use of this important technology as we continuously work to provide safe, clean and reliable power to the 10 million people who live and work in the region we serve.”

The Vonore BESS will be TVA’s first battery storage system to go online, but not the only grid-scale battery storage system that TVA will use. In February, TVA announced a solar project in Lowndes County, Mississippi, for its Green Invest programs that will include 200 megawatt-hours of battery energy storage.

Both battery storage projects are part of the 2019 TVA Integrated Resource Plan, a comprehensive study that shapes how TVA will provide low-cost, reliable and clean energy for the next 20 years. The IRP calls for adding up to 5 gigawatts of energy storage capacity through 2038.

“TVA engineers, scientists and technicians are continually working with our industry partners to shape the future of the energy marketplace and power the long-term economic health of our seven-state region,” said Dr. Joe Hoagland, vice president, TVA Innovation and Research. “We are developing and investing in the latest and best technologies to ensure the steady flow of reliable and clean energy as we build out the nation’s premier energy system.”


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