Retired Coal Plant Has Second Career as Lithium-ion Grid StorageTighter air-pollution regulations will cause utilities to shutter about 23 gigawatts of coal-fueled power plants this year. Leading this trend, Duke Energy replaced its recently retired Beckjord coal-fired plant in New Richmond, Ohio, with a 2-MW lithium-ion grid-storage battery and joined companies like AES Energy Services in the storage-to-frequency regulation market. Recycling a coal plant after pulling the plug on its operational life opens up a new business model for any independent power provider or utility with an unproductive coal plant on its hands.
Duke decided to shut down the boilers early and install battery storage. Immediately after decommissioning, work began on the battery storage system and it was on the grid by November 18, 2015. "Locating the storage system at our retired coal plant allowed us to take advantage of the grid infrastructure already in place with new, relevant technology.”
"Fast-responding energy storage can instantaneously absorb excess energy from the grid or release energy. Delivering that power in seconds, as opposed to a power plant that could take 10 minutes or more to ramp up, is the unique value the battery system provides." During any 24 hour period, the system responds more or less continuously either charging or discharging energy, depending on whether the system is above or below the target frequency. As battery storage finds a lucrative sweet spot in frequency regulation, costs are dropping in a very competitive battery market. "So we've benefited from price declines." Duke's latest installation joins a 2-MW demonstration system on the same site that has been in operation since January. “It lived up to our expectations, which is why we’re asking for another 2 megawatts.”
I never even thought of doing something like this. But it seem like a good idea. You save the cost of having to build new high voltage power lines, roads, and buildings. Just rip out the boilers and install the batteries. But then this isn't the first time grid energy storage took advantage of another industry's foundations. CAES does this and sometimes pumped hydro as well:
List of energy storage projectsAdvanced Underground CAES Project With Saline Porous Rock Formation - Compressed air storage, in-ground - A 300 MW A-CAES demonstration plant will use an underground storage container (depleted gas reservoir) and turbine generators.
Silver Creek Pumped Storage Project - Pumped hydro storage, closed loop - A project created from reclamation of coal-mining pits. The lower reservoir is formed from an existing coal-mining excavation; the upper reservoir's dam is constructed from excavated material of surface mining (overburden). Recovery of over 4 million tons of anthracite coal will help subsidize project costs.