“Is it true that GVEA has the biggest battery bank in the world?” asked a member recently.
If by biggest you mean most powerful, then yes; it’s true. GVEA owns and operates the most powerful energy storage system (BESS) in the world. But it is totally behind the scenes and many people don’t even realize it exists.
Last year, the BESS responded to 40 outages, preventing an average of 3.9 outages per meter. That’s 171,600 times our members did not have to pull out candles or worry about heat.
The Interior is like an island when it comes to electricity. Golden Valley can receive up to 70 MW of power from Anchorage via the Intertie. But when the Intertie goes down or a local power plant trips offline, there is no one else to call.
This is where the BESS jumps in by providing up to 27 MW of power for a period of 15 minutes – about the same amount of time needed to fire up another power plant.
Speaking of islands, a similar-sized battery system in Puerto Rico is used to stabilize the frequency of electric power on the island. It can produce up to 20 MW of power for 15 minutes.
Another use for these batteries is wind regulation. Duke Energy is planning to install a 36 MW energy storage system to back up its 153 MW wind farm in west Texas. GVEA is also investigating using the BESS to back up the Eva Creek Wind project in Healy.