AES Energy Storage plans $20M local investment

A subsidiary to the parent company of DPL Inc. is making an approximately $20 million investment in the Dayton area, building a battery array at a local generating station to stabilize power service to the region and beyond.

AES Energy Storage, a subsidiary of AES Corp., said Tuesday that it plans to bring an additional 40 megawatts of “advanced energy storage resources” to its PJM Interconnection, with an investment to be made at Dayton Power & Light’s Tait generating station off Arbor and Carillon boulevards in Moraine.

The company is planning an array of 800,000 D-size batteries that will provide frequency regulation service to the PJM market. The PJM Interconnection controls the power grid for 60 million people in the Northeast and Midwest, AES said.

It’s the first battery storage site in Ohio, the company said.

Chris Shelton, president of AES Energy Storage, said the investment represents about $500,000 per megawatt for this type of project, or about $20 million total.

The Tait station will be one of six such storage sites in the United States. The company also has one in Chile.

The battery arrays are considered generators because of the service they provide, Shelton said. The site will remain connected to grid and respond to signals from PJM. It will be able to respond immediately to provide stability to power generation in Ohio and the Mid-Atlantic region, a service called “regulation,” he said.

And it’s not just for summer demand, he added.

“It’s actually important every hour of every day, 24 hours a day,” Shelton said.

The Tait station was chosen for the investment because it has physical room for the project, and AES Energy Storage typically likes to work off existing sites, he said. The station has interconnection capacity and is close to existing DPL operations, as well.

Construction on the array started three weeks ago and will be online in September.

“It’s a growing business area for AES around our existing businesses,” Shelton said.

The array’s small, sealed lithium ion batteries are derived from batteries that often serve hybrid vehicles, but these batteries will be new, Shelton said. He called the array a “high-performing resource,” with no emissions, no water usage and no fuel use.

The site may result in a permanent new job at the station, depending on demand and work load, Shelton said. There will be about 15 construction jobs for four months there as the project is built.

The Tait station consists of seven gas-and/or oil-fired combustion turbines, four diesel generators with a summer generating capacity of 586 megawatts, according to DPL.

Phil Herrington, DP&L president and chief executive, said in AES’ announcement: “Having served within PJM for many years, we are pleased to expand AES’ standing in the market with energy storage assets across West Virginia, Pennsylvania and now Ohio. We look forward to working with the city of Moraine on this project.”

The battery array will bring AES’ energy storage resources in PJM to more than 100 megawatts, the company said.

The Tait station’s generating turbines are used during times of peak electricity demand, especially in the summer. The new project will connect through the station but will have an independent agreement with PJM, AES said.

In early May, AES said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to close the O.H. Hutchings Generating Station in Miamisburg along the Great Miami River at the end of the month. This new construction is unrelated to that, Shelton said. He declined further comment on those plans.

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