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The Center for Sustainable Infrastructure Blog

A Game Changer: Snohomish PUD’s Unique Approach to Energy Storage

May 16th, 2016 · No Comments · Energy

By Jason Zyskowski and Neil Neuroutsos
Snohomish PUD

At Snohomish PUD we’ve deployed the first two batteries as part of an innovative energy storage program at multiple sites in our service area. Our approach to storage aims to transform the marketplace and how utilities manage grid operations.

The energy storage systems are built on the Modular Energy Storage Architecture (MESA), which provides a standard, non-proprietary, scalable approach to energy storage. With MESA, in the future, utilities and gridUntitled-3
operators will be able to choose interoperable components – batteries, power converters and software – to meet their specific needs with energy storage systems.

Devoid of standards in energy storage, in the past you’ve essentially been installing black boxes, each one different, each with a different interface and each one requiring a different way of integrating it into your network.

The PUD’s energy storage program has several objectives, including:

  • Integration of intermittent energy resources – such as wind and solar – through energy storage and information technology;
  • Demonstration of dispatch of energy storage resources from utility energy control centers; and
  • Improved reliability and reduced cost of intermittent and distributed generation resources.

Battery energy storage is attractive to the PUD compared to other storage technologies because of its relatively small physical footprint, manageable capital investment costs and minimal permitting requirements.


The storage systems currently in operation include two lithium ion batteries, one built by LG Chem and a second by Mitsuibishi-GS Yuasa. In late 2016, the PUD will deploy four strings of advanced vanadium flow batteries contained in 21 shipping containers, which will be built by UniEnergy, a PUD business customer. All of these energy storage systems are sited at PUD substations.

We’re seeing momentum build in the energy sector as more vendors and utilities adopt the MESA standards as part of their energy storage systems. These standards help system vendors and utilities better understand each other, make the systems easier to install and maintain, drive down costs and make the systems more useful in the long run.

The attached presentation (pdf download) offers more insights about our energy storage program and how it fits into the PUD’s overall goals.

This post is part 1 of a 2 part series on utility scale energy storage innovations in Washington State. Check back soon to learn about the Avista Energy Storage Project! 


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