Industrial ConsumersPower

PowerFlex EDF to design, build and operate a BESS for Schnitzer


Powerflex, an EDF Renewables company, will design, build and operate a battery energy storage system (BESS) with 1,600 kilowatts (kW)/5,567 kilowatt-hour (kWh) of capacity. The project comes after Schnitzer Industries selected the company for the development of the project.

The BESS will locate at Schnitzer’s facilities in Oakland, California, and will serve to reduce the operational electricity costs. It would do so by leveraging best practices in energy demand management.

As usual for BESS, it will charge its batteries during periods of the day when electricity demand on the grid is lowest and renewable energy generating assets are actively powering the grid. This would allow using the cleanest available grid power. The electricity will be supplied by East Bay Community Energy, the local Community Choice Energy provider.

At the same time, the BESS will discharge during periods of high onsite consumption; when less renewable energy is available on the grid. Such a shifting method both eases the strain on the grid and mitigates spikes in energy usage; thereby lowering utility demand charges for the Schnitzer facility.

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PowerFlex to leverage PG&E’s and EDF’s solutions

On the other hand, the development and operation of the system will happen under an innovative scheme. It is called a no-capital cost, shared savings agreement. It is a performance-based contract whereby PowerFlex is only paid based on the actual utility bill savings realized by Schnitzer as a result of the battery operation. Consequently, Schnitzer has no fixed payments and bears no performance risk on the operation of the system.

Robert Ellsworth, Director of Sustainability, Schnitzer Steel Industries, said. “It’s cutting edge, a technological innovation, and one of the first of its kind for our industry, at one of our most dynamic locations. This project serves as a prime example of our commitment to sustainability, not just from a global perspective, but more importantly at a local, community level.”

Moreover, the battery system will use EDF’s Energy Management System (EMS) using real-time data to allow for improvements in energy consumption management. It will also leverage Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) “Option-S” pilot program, a rate tariff specifically designed to increase the adoption of energy storage and facilitate the shift of solar energy to the evening period.

Finally, Michael Robinson, Director of Microgrids and Strategic Market Development at PowerFlex, commented. “PowerFlex is proud to partner with Schnitzer to deliver a storage solution that reduces energy costs while helping alleviate the strain on California’s grid. The BESS will optimize grid-connected operations by allowing Schnitzer to draw from the stored energy during the utility’s expensive evening on-peak period.”

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