Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities (LG&E and KU), arms of US firm PPL Corporation, have developed a research centre for energy storage at a power plant in Kentucky.

The utilities will examine the benefits and costs of large-scale battery storage technologies as well as investigate control systems and integrating storage on the grid.

Non-profit research organisation Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) also collaborated on the project at the E. W. Brown Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Harrodsburg as part of its R&D scheme ‘Integrated Grid Initiative Pilot Projects’.

The site holds three testing bays with potential capacity of 1MW of storage each, but using different technologies in each bed to assess each application and technology separately.

The first bay holds a 1MW lithium-ion battery, with a 1MW inverter and advanced control system engineered to facilitate various tests.

The site has also been offered up as a ‘virtual lab’ for other utilities working with EPRI to learn from.

Two years ago Sunverge energy storage systems were selected for another trial project to test the capabilities of customer-sited storage or a 'virtual power plant' also in Kentucky.

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