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Plus Power’s Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) Project in Hawaii

by Anna

Texas-based Plus Power has successfully initiated the operation of the Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) project in Oahu, Hawaii. The project features a 185 MW/565 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS), making it one of the most advanced BESS globally. The system, located on 8 acres of industrial-zoned land, is equipped with 158 shipping container-sized Tesla Megapack 2 XL lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries.

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The Kapolei Energy Storage project offers critical load-shifting and frequency response services to support Hawaii’s transition to renewable energy, specifically addressing the challenges of high solar generation and the need for balancing services. The BESS allows Hawaiian Electric, the state’s main utility, to respond to changing conditions in Oahu’s isolated island grid. It eliminates the requirement for combustion-based peaker plants, performs black start functions for blackout recovery, and features a synthetic inertia capability that mimics the power-smoothing capabilities of a rotating mechanical turbine.

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The Tesla Megapack LFP batteries stand out for their cathode material (lithium ferro-phosphate), which is cost-effective compared to cobalt- or nickel-based materials. Although LFP may have a lower energy density, its cost and safety benefits make it a preferred choice for utility-scale energy storage projects.

The KES project aims to reduce renewable energy curtailment by 69%, allowing Hawaiian Electric to integrate an additional 10% of large-scale renewables in the first five years of operation. With a lifespan of 20 years, the project is expected to play a crucial role in maintaining grid balance as Hawaii works towards generating 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2045. The state has already decommissioned its last coal plant in 2022 and is actively pursuing renewable projects to meet its clean energy goals.

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