Southern Company launches new Energy Storage Research Center

By Michelle Froese for Windpower Engineering
The new Energy Storage Research Center will offer a resource for the industry to test and develop energy storage technologies needed to better integrate renewable energy into the power grid, as well as improve reliability and resiliency. (Photo: Southern Company)

Southern Company recently joined with industry researchers to launch the Energy Storage Research Center, a unique research and development (R&D) facility focused on the development and deployment of next-generation energy storage technologies.Located on the engineering campus of Southern Research in Birmingham, Alabama, the project is a collaboration between Southern Company, Alabama Power, Southern Research, the Electric Power Research Institute, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the state of Alabama.

“As an R&D leader, Southern Company continues to advance technologies that can help us better meet customers’ needs in the rapidly evolving energy landscape,” said Southern Company R&D Director Roxann Walsh during a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week.

The center will initially evaluate a flow battery system developed by Avalon Battery. Flow batteries are a type of chemical energy storage technology that can offer longer cycle life and quick response times. The Energy Storage Research Center is one of several residential, commercial, industrial, and utility-scale battery storage R&D projects across the Southern Company system’s Southeastern service territory.

“The Energy Storage Research Center will broaden our work with stakeholders and technology developers to better understand energy storage systems and how to fully use this technology to build the future of energy,” added Walsh.

Southern Company’s R&D strategy includes participating in collaborative research projects that bring together innovators from the electric utility sector, academia, government and industry to research, develop and demonstrate critical technology solutions.

“We will need newer, better, more cost-effective energy storage in a low-carbon future – and R&D efforts like the Energy Storage Research Center will help bring these cutting-edge technologies to full deployment,” said Walsh.

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