TVA building its first battery energy storage


The Tennessee Valley Authority is building the first grid-scale, battery energy storage facility owned and operated by TVA.

The storage facility will be located near an industrial complex in Vonore, Tennessee, approximately 35 miles southwest of Knoxville.

“TVA is building the energy grid of the future. 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.”

Dale Harris, senior manager who leads research and development for TVA.

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

The battery energy system will deliver high quality electricity to local industrial customers served by the Loudoun Utilities Board when the facility is operational in 2022. Without constructing additional transmission lines, the Vonore BESS would increase the efficiency of electrical service offered to local production facilities.

If demand and prices are low for use while demand is higher, the battery energy system would allow energy to be stored, lowering costs for Loudon Utilities and local industries.

“We are at the forefront of using large-scale battery storage. 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.”

Dale Harris, senior manager who leads research and development for TVA.

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

The TVA Integrated Resource Plan 2019, a systematic study that shapes how TVA can provide low-cost, reliable and renewable energy for the next 20 years, forms part of both battery storage projects. The IRP calls for up to 5 gigawatts of capacity for energy storage to be added by 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. 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.”

Dr. Joe Hoagland, vice president, TVA Innovation and Research.

Nedim Husomanovic

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