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Batteries Adapted to Power Sewage Treatment

The batteries will connect to their wind, solar and bio-fuel energy generating systems, which have been installed to help cut costs in recent years.

by Neil Nisperos Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Ontario, Calif. / November 23, 2015

(TNS) -- Batteries have come a long way from powering up the old boom box. They’re now being used to help power up sewage treatment plants.

In a first-of-its kind move, the west end region’s major water wholesaler agency will be installing new battery technology at its facilities to expand energy efficiency, as part of efforts to significantly cut costs through the use of renewable energy.

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) is the first water agency in the nation to launch a water-energy project using advanced energy storage systems to integrate solar, wind, bio-gas and grid resources in order to optimize their renewable energy generation, reduce demand on the electric grid, and lower energy costs.

The batteries will store 3.5 megawatts of energy at the agency’s water-recycling facilities and pump stations in Chino and Ontario. The batteries are expected to be installed at six facilities by the end of spring next year, and will connect to the agency’s wind, solar and bio-fuel energy generating systems, which have been installed to help cut costs in recent years.

“Water is a very energy intensive thing in terms of costs,” Grindstaff said. “We spend more than $10 million a year on energy. Our estimate is this (project) is going to end up saving 11 percent a year. Our hope is a million dollars a year.”

The energy storage systems will range in size from 150 kW to 1,250 kW, officials said. The batteries will store excess renewable energy and use stored energy to power facilities when demand on the electric grid is high, officials said. The energy storage systems will also provide an added layer of protection against outages and enhance the agency’s ability to share renewable energy between facilities, according to officials.

The agency signed an agreement with San Francisco-based Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) to design, install and manage the project. Cost of the equipment is free but the agency will pay just under $100,000 for operations and management of the batteries, which are made by the Tesla Energy company.

“This ground-breaking project is designed to optimize energy resources in the management, treatment and distribution of water while enhancing the reliability and resiliency of both the electric grid and water management systems,” said Susan Kennedy, CEO of AMS.

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency supplies nine member water agencies that together serve more than 830,000 people in west end of San Bernardino County.

©2015 the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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