S&C Electric Co. energy storage system helps BC Hydro fix power outages

The energy storage system, owned by BC Hydro, integrates a 1 MW sodium-sulfur battery bank to the power grid

S&C Electric Co.'s PureWave SMS Storage Management System in Field, British Columbia, is helping reduce the length and frequency of power outages in the community.

The energy storage system, owned by BC Hydro, integrates a 1 MW sodium-sulfur battery bank to the power grid so that it can provide up to seven hours of clean back-up power should the power grid experience a disruption. The system also provides peak shaving on a daily basis.

Field is a remote mountain community that relies on a single 34-mile overhead distribution line to deliver power from the substation in Golden, B.C. to the town. In this mountainous terrain, heavy forestation, difficult access and adverse climate conditions result in frequent faults affecting reliability. The energy storage system alleviates this problem by automatically transferring Field's electric load to battery power when the grid is disrupted.

The system is already providing benefits for Field residents since it went into service in July 2013. In the first six months of system operation, six major power disruptions occurred, stemming from incidents including motor vehicle accidents, trees falling on the lines, and broken power line poles.

Each time S&C's system operated flawlessly to avoid an outage, supplying Field with battery power for a total of 40 hours. In fact, during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the energy storage facility in September, a line fault occurred when a motor vehicle accident caused a power pole to break. S&C's energy storage solution quickly demonstrated its value by islanding the town for eight hours until repairs could be made and grid power was restored.

This energy storage stores clean energy produced by BC Hydro to meet the area's electricity demands while also reducing system load during periods of peak demand. The $13 million project was made possible with a $6.5 million grant from Natural Resources Canada's Clean Energy Fund.

More in Vehicles & Accessories