Southern Company system shaping the future of energy storage technologies through new research demonstration

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September 17, 2015

Southern Company system shaping the future of energy storage technologies through new research demonstration

Reflecting a long-standing commitment to the research and development (R&D) of new technologies to better serve customers, Southern Company today hosted industry leaders and local dignitaries at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and facility tour at the largest battery storage research project in its operating system.

Located in Cedartown, Georgia, the new research project will test and evaluate a 1-megawatt (MW)/2- megawatt-hour (MWh) battery storage system using lithium-ion battery technology – similar to the battery chemistry in electric vehicles and many of today’s consumer electronics.

"As a national leader in innovation, Southern Company recognizes the value for customers of inventing the future of energy," said Southern Company Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kimberly S. Greene. "With the new Cedartown battery demonstration, we are taking an important step forward in the research, development and deployment of energy storage technologies that create better ways to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable power to the families we serve."

Southern Company is at the forefront of accelerating the development of energy storage systems that will offer many benefits and great promise to the electric utility industry. From greater reliability to increased use of renewable energy to reduced prices for customers, energy storage has the potential to further enable the "smart grid" and help utilities meet the needs of customers.

The Cedartown research demonstration was created by Southern Company in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute, in order to develop a large, utility-scale lithium-ion battery system and evaluate how battery storage systems can create value for customers.

Southern Company has long viewed the development of efficient, economic energy storage as a potential game-changer for renewables.

"Renewable resources, such as solar and wind, are inherently variable and intermittent – generating electricity only when the sun shines or the wind blows," said Greene. "Cost-effective battery storage could provide a viable solution to better manage and integrate renewables into the power grid."

The Cedartown battery demonstration is located on the site of a 1-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) facility owned and operated by WGL Energy. The solar PV facility is part of Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI). Georgia Power’s innovative ASI programs have allowed the company to add hundreds of megawatts of cost-effective solar generation in Georgia without putting upward pressure on customer rates. Batteries are provided by LG Chem, one of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturers.

Southern Company’s commitment to research and development
Southern Company leads the electric utility industry in conducting robust, proprietary research and development – a commitment that extends to the 1960s. The Southern Company system has managed nearly $2 billion in R&D investments, leading to the development of technologies that will change the way America produces energy.