My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How JPS Co Hybrid Storage Plant Prevents Islandwide Outages as Solar Power usage increases

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How JPS Co Hybrid Storage Plant Prevents Islandwide Outages as Solar Power usage increases

“The innovation will help to secure grid stability and reliability in the face of increasing intermittent renewable energy. The energy storage solution will have power readily available in the event that solar and wind renewable systems, suddenly lose power due to cloud cover, reduced wind or other interruptions”

JPS Co in a Press Release on their 24.5MW Hybrid Battery Power Storage facility

JPS Co has finally seen the light as it relates to preventing islandwide power outages. This may involve doing something never before done in Jamaica or anywhere else for that matter; Store Electricity.

JPS Co has declared their intention to build a 24.5-megawatt Hybrid Battery Power Storage facility to store electricity as reported in the article “JPS Plans Storage Facility To Reduce Power Outages”, published Sunday June 18, 2017 by Steven Jackson, The Jamaica Gleaner

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The OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) still has to approve the facility even as the JPS board of directors have committed to building the power storage facility as declared in their Press Release on their website titled “JPS Board Approves Ground Breaking Energy Solution for Jamaica”, published June 19, 2017, JPS Co.

No cost was disclosed, but construction on the facility will start in the Third Quarter of 2018 and is a part of their move to save costs by making power generation more efficient as reported in the article “JPS To Spend US$100 Million To Reduce Energy Costs”, Published Sunday July 30, 2017 7:00 by Steven Jackson, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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This 24.5MW facility, which will be located at the Hunts Bay Power Plant Substation, will consist of the following Hybrid storage elements:

1.      High-speed flywheels
2.      Low-speed flywheels
3.      Containerized Li-Ion batteries

To put this latest development into perspective, last December 2016 outgoing JPS Co president Kelly Tomblin described Jamaica’s power consumption as one of the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean. She indicated that such inefficient use of energy constrains Jamaica's growth; saving some of that excess generated power is a necessary part of making electricity rates cheaper in Jamaica.

Jamaica has some interesting power Statistics based on the Ministry of Science Energy & Technology:

1.      4,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per US$1,000 of gross domestic product
2.      80MW of renewables added in 2016
3.      100MW of renewable to be added in 2017
4.      US$18 million (J$2.3 billion) in oil imports saved thanks to renewable energy projects
5.      800,000 metric tonnes in toxic carbon emissions

Jamaica ranks 92nd in the World Economic Forum's Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2017. In 2016, we also progressed in our use of Renewables:

1.      24MW of renewable capacity added by Wigton Wind Farm III
2.      36.3MW of renewable capacity added by BMR Windfarm
3.      20MW of renewable capacity added by WRB Content Solar

 So how does JPS Co Hybrid storage work? And why is this needed anyway?

JPS Co Battery Storage - Battery Storage to prevent Islandwide Power Grid Shutdown

The idea is that 24.5MW of electrical power will be converted to kinetic energy and chemical energy via the flywheels and Li-Ion batteries respectively.

Then during periods of low power output from renewables i.e. solar power and Wind Power, the 24.5MW Hybrid storage can convert that kinetic energy and chemical energy into electricity on demand. 

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It also has the advantage of protecting the Power Grid from sudden drops in load, the main reason why Jamaica was experiencing islandwide power outage as explained my MICO Wars Blog article entitled “JPS Co’s Islandwide outage due to Jamaicans turning off their Breakers simultaneously”. 

This happens because more Jamaicans are using Solar Power to power their homes with Battery Storage for the night time period. Usually, at peak time Jamaicans start using power at their homes between 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. This excess power demand, referred to as Peak energy, represents a leisure peak, rather than an economic development peak, as people are at homes watching TV, ironing and using their refrigerator more often.

However, with Solar and Wind Power and Battery Storage in the mix, there is a lower demand for JPS Co generated Power. This means that a lot of the electricity generated by JPS Co has nowhere to go, as there is no longer that huge demand for Power. So rather than shutdown Generators or cause the Protection System to trip in and cause an islandwide black out due to low load levels, JPS has opted to store that excess generated Electricity.

The arguement that solar plants reduce power generation just as the peak period starts is false; it's really the battery storage usage by Jamaican homeowners that causes the reduction, not the lack of sunlight or wind, as Jamaicans can float on Battery power until the morning when the sun rises and wind begins to blow anew.

So how does this benefit the JPS Co, seeing as more people are using Alternative Energy?

JPS Co and Renewables - Preventing Islandwide Outages and Finding new usage for Power

For one, it'll salvage their already their reputation as relates to the stability of their Electricity Grid.

After the last islandwide power outage on Saturday August 27th 2017 as reported in “Islandwide Power Blackout, JPS Says It Is Working To Restore Electricity” published August 27 2016 by Livern Barrett, The Jamaica Gleaner, JPS Co had to make sure it didn't happen again.

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They eventually concluded that there was a flaw in their operating procedures as well as in the Protection system, which is designed to protect Generators from power surges due to load shedding events as noted in “Protection Failure – JPS Says System Flaw Caused Islandwide Blackout”, published August 30 2016 by Poyser, The Jamaica Gleaner.

These load shedding events occur usually after a massive, sudden drop in power usage by Jamaicans e.g. if a major transmission pole gets cut or during a hurricane. It also occurs in situations where everyone simultaneously shuts off their breakers, a phenomenon cause mainly by more customers using Solar and Wind turbine to generate their own electricity and use battery backup.

The storage facility would, therefore, store power during peak periods when power would usually spike.....but doesn’t because of the increase used of Alternative Energy. JPS Co is going LNG in a bid to reduce the cost of electricity and make themselves competitive via using cheaper LNG (Liquid Natural Gas).

This is thanks to New Fortress, a US based company with plans to supply Jamaica with LNG via a marine terminal and pipeline within the Portland Bight area or close to the Goat Islands as noted in the article “JPS Sees Positive Outcome From Softbank Acquisition Of Fortress Group”, Published Sunday February 19, 2017 by Steven Jackson, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Included in this mix may be 115MW of renewables from solar and wind farm developements. Still, this means that JPS will have to find extra usages for their generated electricity, no matter how cheap it may be. 

Such potentially lower costs may not only jump-start MSME (Micro small and Medium Enterprises) that can't afford large solar installations, but may also herald the coming of All-Electric Vehicles with Tesla Motors installing the Charging Stations here as predicted in my blog article entitled “JPSCo US$5 million Smart Grid and Tesla Motors Battery Storage Tech Fixes Low Power Periods”.   

Coupled with Smart Meters Prepaid PAYG Rollout, we may be looking at the slow development of a Hydrogen-Electron Economy in Jamaica by 2050.

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