Duke Energy Turns To Samsung SDI To Switch 36 MW Energy Storage System From Lead-Acid To Lithium-Ion

AUG 16 2015 BY STAFF 22

Duke Energy

Duke Energy

On of the nation’s largest battery energy storage projects is undergoing a switch from lead-acid to lithium-ion.

Duke Energy to upgrade its Notrees Energy Storage System

Duke Energy, Samsung SDI and Younicos will team up to update Duke Energy’s 36-megawatt (MW) energy storage and power management system at the company’s Notrees Windpower Project in west Texas.

The system, one of the nation’s largest, has been operating since 2012 with lead acid batteries. Over the course of 2016, these batteries will be gradually replaced with lithium-ion technology.

Notrees Energy Storage Project

Notrees Energy Storage Project

Notes on Notrees Energy Storage Project:

About Notrees Energy Storage Project

In 2009, Duke Energy announced plans to match a $22 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to install large-scale batteries capable of storing electricity from the grid or produced by the company’s 153-MW Notrees Windpower Project. The system, one of the nation’s largest, is located in Ector and Winkler Counties, Texas, and has been operating since 2012.

Rest of press release below:

“The Notrees Energy Storage Project has proven to be a valuable asset, achieving the objectives of our partnership with ERCOT (Energy Reliability Council of Texas) and the Department of Energy,” said Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy, Commercial Portfolio. “Because battery technology is rapidly evolving, we have an opportunity to upgrade the facility to better match the function that has become most valuable in the Texas market — fast response frequency regulation.”

Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric utility, currently owns nearly 15 percent of the grid-connected, battery-based energy storage capacity in the U.S., according to independent research firm IHS Energy.

Duke Energy works closely with ERCOT, which signals to the battery storage system to either dispatch stored energy to increase frequency or absorb energy to decrease frequency, helping to smooth and balance peaks and valleys on the ERCOT grid. By rapidly storing or releasing energy, the system can respond quickly to regulate frequency and provide additional services for grid management.

Samsung SDI, as primary engineering, procurement and construction manager, will provide its high-performing lithium-ion batteries and associated Battery Management System (BMS).

“We are proud to share Duke Energy’s clean energy ambitions and to give a new heart to the nation’s largest power battery storage facility through our most innovative lithium-ion batteries and battery management system,” said Woochan Kim, senior vice president of Energy Storage for Samsung SDI. “Our solution is designed to boost Duke Energy’s performance in the ERCOT fast responding regulation service market, and we are committed to partner with Duke Energy throughout the lifecycle of the product with our industry renowned performance guarantee.”

Younicos will provide its energy storage management system (ESMS), which will work in concert with the Samsung SDI software and batteries. The Younicos ESMS interprets the signal from ERCOT, enabling the Notrees battery project to store or dispatch energy as needed, while maintaining the energy storage system in an optimal performance state.

“Younicos continuously engineers, analyzes and innovates to identify optimal solutions for intelligent storage applications. The result is this next generation of control systems at Notrees,” said James P. McDougall, Younicos CEO. “We applaud Duke Energy’s continued leadership in energy storage adoption, and we’re excited to work on this project with both Duke and Samsung SDI, with whom we have a long track record of successful project deployments.”

Younicos is also providing system design, engineering, software integration and testing, along with post-implementation engineering services.


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22 Comments on "Duke Energy Turns To Samsung SDI To Switch 36 MW Energy Storage System From Lead-Acid To Lithium-Ion"

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Cool! How much energy does it store? I only see MW being discussed above, which would be a measure of power not energy storage.

So how many MWh of lead acid batteries does it take to make 36 MW?

Any specs on the replacement li-ion system? Would expect to at least double energy and power capacity.

Expect that’s lots of lead headed to recycling … into 12V car batteries.

I remember reading that lead acid batteries only has a life span of three to four years. While Lithium has a minimum life span of ten years. So with this said from a investment stand point if this project is already three years old. So at least some of the lead acid batteries are going to need replacing. The good news is by replacing them with lithium you are not doing a replacement but a upgrade. In that lithium is 40% the weight and mass of lead acid.

According to the DOE, the duration of the installation is 40 mins at 36MW. That’s 25.9MWh.


Wow. If true, that’s a ton of lead-acid.

It’s even more than a ton. 🙂

“Our solution is designed to boost Duke Energy’s performance in the ERCOT fast responding regulation service market . . . ”

How much is performance expected to improve?

Why rip out and throw away the practically new and paid for lead acid battery storage system? Why not use both systems in tandem? I would think more storage is better.

Because three decades of experience tells us lead-acid cells last ~3 years in grid service. This is fairly shallow cycling, so the initial cells are still dying, even moreso by 2016. In 2016 some of the infant mortality replacements could be dead themselves.

I would think you would know that. But you would have hydrogen there.

it will be over time, and lead acid has relatively short life.

Your thinking about cheap car batteries. “Long life lead” lead-acid batteries such as AT&T Lineage (R) round cells, used for telecom backup power in cell towers, have a 25 year prorated warranty and a typical 30 year working life in hard service. See Bill Howard’s comment below in the Bob Lutz article about these batteries (you’ll have to scroll up a couple of comments to the start of Bill’s thread as the hyperlink doesn’t take you exactly to the comment it’s linked to).


Opps. You’re, not your.

YOU’RE wrong again. Telecom facilities have their battery backups come on a few times a year, in a power failure. These come on a few times a day, possibly a few times an hour in some wind speeds.

You’re WRONG AGAIN. These batteries are for frequency regulation only which is performed on a minute by minute basis and are never ever deep discharged. Please learn the difference between shallow cycle frequency regulation vs. deep cycle spinning reserve, deep cycle supplemental reserve, and deep cycle replacement reserve.

Backup power is not cycles around 5 times a day. This is a very different use case.

Backup power is not cycled around 5 times a day. This is a very different use case. I would expect far less duration if the cells are cycled very offen.

In the press release above, Duke energy said the use case for these batteries is shallow discharge Frequency Regulation, and not deep discharge Spinning Reserve, deep discharge Supplemental Reserve, or deep discharge Replacement Reserve. Frequency Regulation matches demand with supply on a minute by minute basis, cycling every minute in a narrow band of the battery’s state of charge. It’s not the 5 times per day deep discharge that you imply in your comment; that would the use case for Spinning Reserve, Supplemental Reserve, and Replacement Reserve.

I think most commentors here are basing their predictions on the useful life of utility-grade long-life lead acid batteries used for shallow cycle frequency regulation on the life expectancy of deep cycle “consumer” lead acid batteries used as power backup for a off-grid home solar system. These are two very different use cases.

sven said:

“Long life lead” lead-acid batteries such as AT&T Lineage (R) round cells, used for telecom backup power in cell towers, have a 25 year prorated warranty and a typical 30 year working life in hard service.”

But that’s for batteries which are only used when local power fails. So I’m not sure how that fits the “hard service” category; seems very easy service!

Used to buffer a wind farm would be daily cycling, not that different from use in a plug-in EV. In that application, we should expect deep cycle lead-acid batteries would last only a few years before needing replaced.


From what sven posted above in a rebuttal comment, there is no deep cycling involved in this application. In that case, it would be closer to the kind of shallow battery cycling found in a parallel hybrid EV such as the (non-plug-in) Prius.

We’re going to need more battery factories.

Looks like they have a lot of land.

Yes, the 40 minute duration is not going to be for a 100% discharge. If that rating is 66% DOD, the 36MW corresponds to 36MWh.

PowerWall is what, 7kwh? So, firming a ~153MW wind farm requires around 5,000 PowerWalls, assuming that is what they’re scaling to. Just Texas has 12% of about 400TWH coming from wind. This farm may be good for .5TWH per year. Firm it all up using stationary storage, and you have some positive implications for the gigafactory. Ones that have absolutely nothing to do with cars.

I personally think that Tesla could enlarge the giga factory three or four times. They could still have all that capacity go to the stationary solar storage systems. In that they are working on making hundred kilowatt storage packs for businesses. Also at the rate the California Power companies are going with shifting their solar polices around there is at least a hundred thousand people wanting solar storage at the right price for their existing solar systems.