AES and KIUC inaugurate world’s largest solar PV peaker plant
The AES Corporation and Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) have inaugurated the Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project, the largest operational solar and storage system in the world.
The project, owned and operated by AES Distributed Energy, consists of a 28 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) and a 100 MWh five-hour duration energy storage system, and will help Hawaii meet its goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2045. The new PV peaker will deliver roughly 11% of Kaua’i’s power, making the island more than 50% powered by renewables.
By combining solar power with battery-based energy storage, intermittent renewable generation can be converted into safe, reliable and higher-quality power. The fully integrated Lāwa’i project will eliminate the use of 3.7 million gallons of diesel annually, while supporting three vital scenarios in power distribution – it allows for solar generation to supply the grid while charging the battery system, dispatches power stored in the battery system to the grid during peak demand periods and can dispatch solar and battery power simultaneously to answer spikes in demand in addition to supporting the grid through provision of ancillary services.
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Declining costs of solar, and use cases such as this project, will make similar systems the smartest choice to leverage abundant energy from renewables in many other parts of the world. AES is established as an early market leader in firm renewables, with solar + storage solutions representing half of AES Distributed Energy’s 128 MW under construction and more than 250 MW in late stage development. AES Distributed Energy is currently constructing an additional 19.3 MW solar + 70 MWh battery energy storage facility for KIUC located on leased land from the U.S. Department of Defense within the Pacific Missile Range Facility – Barking Sands (PMRF) Naval Base.
AES is also continuing to develop firm renewables projects in Hawaii and elsewhere with more projects to be announced in 2019.
Andrés Gluski, AES President and Chief Executive Officer said: “Kaua’i has adopted an ambitious renewables mandate and the Lāwa’i project will help reduce its reliance on fossil fuels while generating clean, reliable and affordable energy. As a supplier of power to Hawaii for more than 25 years, we are honored to have been chosen by KIUC to help demonstrate its commitment to the state’s vision of a cleaner energy future. We believe this project is a significant step toward ushering in the wider era of firm renewables.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.