CEI News

Washington Takes Big Step Toward Renewable Energy Storage and Grid Integration

July 9, 2014 — Progress in the state’s energy storage and smart grid projects received a big boost this week. On Tuesday, Governor Jay Inslee announced a major state initiative to leverage state matching funds for three projects that will integrate power generated from intermittent renewable sources, such as wind and solar, in the state’s electrical grid. The project involves three of the state’s major utilities and research institutions, including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and the University of Washington Clean Energy Institute.

Professor Daniel Kirschen, a CEI faculty member and professor of electrical engineering, will participate in the utility demonstration projects working alongside the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Using data collected by PNNL, Kirschen will be assessing the economic value that these batteries create in the electrical grid as a function of various technical parameters such as the battery power rating, energy rating, location, and how the battery and storage is being used in the individual demonstration projects. Using this data, the team can then draw conclusions about the long term value for larger scale deployment of the batteries and energy storage applications in Washington state and beyond.

UPDATE: In December 2014 and January 2015 large battery systems were placed in test sites in Pullman, Washington and in Everett, Washington with more to follow. Read more here:

  • How to Store Solar Energy for a Rainy Day? A Really Big Battery, Seattle Times, January 16, 2015
  • SnoCo PUD powering up energy storage, KING 5 News, January 15, 2014
  • Energy storage project will use massive batteries to store renewable energy, KLEW TV, December 30, 2014

Read more from media coverage from the original press conference:

  • State pursues new smart grid projects to capture, store more solar and wind power, Press release, Office of Washington Governor Jay Inslee, July 8, 2014
  • Federal Research Spurs Washington State to Store Energy, PNNL Press release, July 8, 2014
  • Why Washington State’s $14.3M Storage Program Is So Different From Others, Greentech Media, July 8, 2014
  • $14.3M state grant for ‘smart grid’ technology could mean big business for Mukilteo startup, Puget Sound Business Journal, July 8, 2014
  • State Grants Position Washington as Energy Storage Player, Xconomy, July 9, 2014
  • UniEnergy Technologies Goes from Molecules to Megawatts, Xconomy, July 8, 2014
  • Mukilteo company develops ‘smart’ battery to store alternative energy, KING TV, July 8, 2014
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The Clean Energy Institute recently invested more than $1 million in new instruments to support materials research and technology development.

The Washington Research Foundation will invest $6.74 million over six years that will support nine new faculty hires, six postdoctoral researchers and the creation of a new experimental manufacturing facility on campus that will help move discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. This investment in the CEI is truly transformational.”
– Daniel Schwartz, CEI Director
“Providing clean energy to the inhabitants of our planet is a major challenge to future generations. The University of Washington is to be congratulated for establishing an Institute where faculty and students can work together to tackle the difficult global challenge of energy sustainability.”
– Mildred Dresselhaus, Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, Emerita and Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Energy competition is opening up in a variety of ways, the push for carbon control will continue, and the rate of technology advancement is exponential. All the things I’ve seen at the CEI are just perfect for the way we see things going in energy. You guys are at the cutting edge. We’re counting on you.”
– Ronald Litzinger, President, Edison Energy