At Premium Power Corp., managing energy is not just a concept - it's a corporate mission.The North Reading-based company develops low cost, grid scalable batteries that have the capacity to store and retrieve energy.
As Bill O'Donnell explained, the technology has tremendous potential for utilities that want to take advantage of solar power which provides energy at less than peak usage times. "Solar produces energy that does not match the peak," said Bill O'Donnell. "The idea is to take this excess energy charging the battery and when the peak occurs, shift the energy."
Recovery Act Impact: Premium Power
The company is in the process of demonstrating the efficacy of this technology thanks to a stimulus grant of $6 million through the Smart Grid Energy Storage Demonstration program.
"ARRA is crucial to get this program to commercial production,"
The objectives of the program include demonstrating that these batteries have applications for utility grids; improving load management times from peak to non-peak times; validating the economic benefits of stored energy; sharing the lessons learned from these demonstrations with the wider community; improving the acceptance of renewable energy systems; and, generating jobs in the states where materials and supporting systems are assembled. "We are trying to prove to the Department of Energy that our product has a future," said O'Donnell.
"These devices are allowing power plants to operate at a more optimal level," said O'Donnell. "We'll store the solar energy and discharge it when they're ready. And they are utility ready - the utility just needs an electrical connection and they can plug in."
O'Donnell estimated that the program will directly create 38 new jobs over the next two years and indirectly create 86 jobs. Its impact on Premium Power is equally significant.
"This is a critical program for us," said O'Donnell.