The largest flow battery system in the world, capable of storing and delivering grid-scale power instantaneously, received permission to operate from the local utility and will begin full operation in the weeks ahead, announced Prudent Energy, the manufacturer of the VRB Energy Storage System. The project's commissioning marks a significant point in the deployment of large-scale electricity storage systems and will be used to expand onsite power generation at an agricultural processing facility in California owned by Gills Onions.
"This project unleashes the power of energy storage for industrial companies and the grid of the future. It proves that multi-megawatt-hour VRB systems can be delivered today. We expect dramatic benefits for a company like Gills Onions, to help manage their operating costs," said Prudent Energy Senior Vice President Jeff Pierson.
One of the VRB system's benefits is that it allows Gills Onions to reduce utility bills by storing electricity when rates are lowest and delivering that electricity during expensive peak rate periods. Electricity prices increase during high use periods, especially for six hours in the afternoon when the local utility, Southern California Edison, must call on peaking generators to meet demand. That additional cost of electricity production is passed to the customer via Time of Use (TOU) rates.
Although Gills Onions generates a significant portion of its own electricity, it still depends every day on the local utility. Enter Prudent. By charging the VRB-ESS typically at night, then discharging that power during the afternoon peak period, Gills reasoned it can substantially lower its power bill each year.
In 2011, Gills Onions was recognized by McDonald's Corporation on the merits of their sustainability achievements. Proving how important such a commitment is to effective business relations, Gills Onions received McDonald's annual Innovation Award for its waste-to energy project, including Prudent's flow battery, a zero waste initiative, and participation in The Climate Registry.
Gills Onions is a 29-year-old family owned and operated grower and food processor. In concert with sister company Rio Farms, the Gill brothers manage over 17,000 acres of farmland and 300,000 square feet of processing and warehouse facilities.
Prudent Energy Prudent Energy is the designer, manufacturer, and integrator of the revolutionary VRB Energy Storage System. Prudent's VRB-ESS allows utility customers to balance load, bridge generation, and regulate voltage and frequency - all in one low maintenance system. Prudent also delivers onsite VRB systems and services to commercial and industrial companies to reduce their operating expenses and provide backup power. Unlike other advanced energy storage systems, Prudent's VRB is highly scalable, charges and discharges completely without decreasing power capacity, and contains an energy-bearing electrolyte that never wears out.
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