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Florida utility begins construction of major battery storage facility

February 03, 2021

Energy Storage News:

Construction work has begun in the US on what is claimed to be the world’s biggest solar-charged battery storage project, by utility company Florida Power & Light (FPL).

FPL, which is a subsidiary of major US power producer NextEra Energy, announced its plans for the 409MW/900MWh project, FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center in Manatee County, Florida, back in March 2019. The battery energy storage system (BESS) is co-located with FPL’s existing Manatee Solar Energy Center ground-mounted solar PV plant and is expected to be up and running towards the end of this year.

The BESS is being deployed by the utility along with a number of smaller solar and energy storage projects nearby to enable to retirement of two ageing natural gas plants built in the 1970s, which have a combined generation capacity of over 1,600MW. FPL said that in addition to resulting in carbon dioxide emissions reductions, the Manatee battery project will also save its customers some US$100 million over the lifetime of the project by offsetting fuel costs and running on sunshine.

Power will be stored in the batteries when the sun is shining and power is cheaper due to low demand and then injected into the grid when customer demand peaks and power is more expensive. It will allow the utility to rely far less on natural gas peaker plants, which run for only a limited number of hours each year but can be expensive as well as polluting to operate, as well as requiring more regular maintenance than battery storage systems do.

FPL said that the replacement of natural gas resources – which themselves were often deployed to replace even more polluting coal or oil-burning power plants – with solar and batteries has been made possible by cost declines for the technologies as well as through the utility having learned how to optimise their use.

[Andy Colthorpe]

More: Work begins on 409MW/900MWh Florida battery project to ease natural gas plants into retirement

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