Dominion Energy proposes pioneering duration battery storage pilot in Virginia

Published on September 21, 2023 by Chris Galford

© Shutterstock

In the Darbytown Storage Pilot Project that Dominion Energy Virginia proposed to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) this week, the company seeks to test two alternatives for traditional lithium-ion batteries with potentially significant length of discharge capabilities.

The two alternatives include iron-air batteries created by Form Energy and zinc-hybrid batteries from Eos Energy Enterprises.

One of the technologies could pump out energy for days at a time – a major improvement if successful, given that most battery systems across the U.S. can average four hours of supply or less. Both could also provide strengthened safety features. If approved, testing would take place at the Darbytown Power Station in Henrico County.

“We are making the grid increasingly clean in Virginia with historic investments in offshore wind and solar,” Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia, said. “With longer-duration batteries in the mix, this project could be a transformational step forward, helping us safely discharge stored energy when it is needed most by our customers.”

Battery storage is often paired with renewable energy to maximize potential, and currently, Dominion is developing the largest offshore wind project in the U.S. It’s also building up the second-largest solar fleet in the country, so if successful, there are plenty of places the test technologies could deploy.

Notably, Form’s iron-air technology claims the ability to discharge energy for up to 100 hours.

“We are pleased to partner with Dominion Energy on the innovative Darbytown Storage Pilot Project and look forward to delivering a 100-hour iron-air battery system that will enhance grid reliability and provide Dominion’s Virginia customers with access to wind and solar energy when and where it is needed over periods of multiple days,” Mateo Jaramillo, Form Energy’s co-founder and CEO, said.

Testing of both Form’s and Eos’ technologies will require approval from the SCC and Henrico county. If approved, though, construction could begin by late 2024, with an operational start date sometime by late 2026.