Lithium batteries tapped for community storage

By Martin LaMonica in CNET News, February 1 2010

A smart-grid project in Ohio will test whether the electricity business will follow the history of computing, with storage moving from center to the edge of the network.

Start-up International Battery on Monday said that it has been chosen to supply lithium ion batteries for a community energy storage pilot project run by utility AEP set to go online by the middle of this year.

The storage units will be about the size of pad-mounted transformers, the roughly refrigerator-size boxes that step down high-voltage current from transmission lines for local service, said Ake Almgren, the CEO of International Battery.

The community energy storage will be part of a smart-grid project, where AEP is installing smart meters and other technologies in an effort to reduce power consumption in a 150 square-mile region in northeast Ohio. Installation of the storage units, one of several Department of Energy-sponsored grid storage projects, is scheduled to start in May and continue through the middle of next year, according to an AEP representative.

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