- Dominion Energy Virginia has filed a proposal with the Virginia State Corporation Commission for a battery storage pilot project that will test two new technologies as alternatives to lithium-ion batteries – Form Energy’s iron-air batteries and Eos Energy’s zinc-hybrid batteries.
- The utility says that the proposed storage project comes at a critical time, as it looks to develop the largest offshore wind project in the U.S. and expand its solar fleet, the second largest in the nation. It will include a roughly 5 MW/500 MWh system from Form Energy, and a 4 MW/16 MWh battery from Eos Energy.
- If approved by the SCC and Henrico County authorities, construction of the storage project would begin in late 2024, Dominion said. It is expected to come into operation by late 2026, and is projected to cost approximately $70.6 million.
Virginia regulators last August approved Dominion Energy Virginia’s plans to build the 2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, which is expected to include 176 turbines located around 27 miles off the coast. The project is estimated to have a capital cost of $9.8 billion, and the company said it plans to complete construction in 2026.
According to Dominion, the offshore wind project could save customers in Virginia more than $3 billion in the first decade of its operation, with the potential to go up to $6 billion in the first decade depending on commodity market pressure trends.
“We are making the grid increasingly clean in Virginia with historic investments in offshore wind and solar,” Ed Baine, Dominion Energy Virginia’s president said in a statement.
“With longer-duration batteries in the mix, this project could be a transformational step forward, helping us safely discharge stored energy when it is needed most by our customers,” Baine added.
Form Energy’s iron-air technology can store electricity for 100 hours, at system costs that the company says is competitive with legacy power plants. Eos’ zinc-powered storage technology, meanwhile, can provide between 3 and 12 hours of storage — although its primary use case for this project would be to provide four hours of discharge capacity.
Form Energy’s technology could complement Dominion’s offshore wind ambitions. Offshore wind is still a nascent industry in the U.S., but is an attractive resource for utilities because it can be deployed on a large scale, and tends to have a higher capacity factor – meaning it produces power a higher percentage of the hours of the year – than onshore wind or solar, Mateo Jaramillo, CEO of Form Energy, said.
However, the intermittency periods of offshore wind tend to be longer than onshore wind and can show lulls for days on end, he added.
“This is where the 100-hour duration [of Form’s technology], or even potentially longer in the future, comes into play,” he said.
Form’s iron-air batteries could also be a good fit for other areas that have or plan to develop offshore wind, like the Northeast and California, he added.
Earlier this month, Eos Energy announced it had received an up to $398.6 million conditional loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to scale up manufacturing capacity for its zinc-powered systems. If the deal comes through, the company expects to hit a 8 GWh annual production capacity by 2026.