- A set of common standards for utility-sized energy storage could be released by the end of the year, according to Energy Storage Report, with a group known as Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA) behind the push.
- Last month Duke Energy joined the MESA Standards Alliance, and earlier this year Puget Sound Energy announced it would be deploying a 2 MW, 4.4 MWh energy storage system designed to MESA’s set of open standards.
- MESA opened a testing center earlier this year, at the Battery Innovation Center, in Indiana, designed to bolster the use of plug-and-play storage systems.
With grid modernization efforts increasingly focused in energy storage, a the MESA group has developed a strategic partnerhship with the Battery Innovation Center to develop the first MESA compatibility and interoperability testing center. The new group wanted to develop a physical location where companies can bring new technologies to verify their compatibility with published standards.
“We’ve had a productive first year as an alliance and this partnership is well-timed to our needs as an organization,” Craig Collar, board chair of the MESA Alliance and assistant general manager at Snohomish County Public Utility District in Washington State, said in a statement this summer. “Our specifications are taking shape and we need a location and an organization that is vendor-independent where our industry and utility members can come to verify that things work as designed.”
The group's influence appears to be growing, as large utilities acknowledge the need for common standards.
Duke Energy, which has about 15% of the country's grid-connected storage, joined the alliance last month. “Standardizing the communication architecture for energy storage systems is integral to allowing these systems to integrate into Duke’s system and expand our energy storage program,” said Thomas Golden, technology development manager at Duke. ”We need energy storage systems to be ‘plug and play’ to facilitate the evolving smart grid."
And in January, Puget Sound Energy announced it would deploy a 2 MW / 4.4 MWh energy storage system utilizing lithium-ion batteries, designed to MESA’s set of open standards. The utility tapped 1Energy Systems to develop the software to manage new battery energy storage systems, and the company used MESA standards in the system.
The company's “approach of using the open MESA standards and their background in enterprise software development and power systems engineering made them a logical choice for the software component of our systems.” PSE Emerging Energy Technologies Program Manager Patrick Leslie said.
Getting all the storage vendors to agree on common standards is likely to be a challenge, according to Energy Storage Report, which points out that attempts to standardize the smart grid sector have stalled. A MESA spokesperson said that under the organization's "very aggressive timetable," a draft open standard could be released by the end of this year, if not in 2016.