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Bank of 1,440 lithium-ion batteries to make power grid smarter

Rows of battery racks at Portland General Electric’s Salem Smart Power Center in Salem, Ore., are being used to test several smart grid technologies and approaches.
By John Roach, Contributing Writer, NBC News

A bank of lithium-ion batteries big enough to supply about 500 U.S. homes with electricity during a power outage went online today to demonstrate the future of smart grid technologies.

The 5-megawatt battery is a piece of a larger, government-backed $178 million research project in the Pacific Northwest to make the electric grid more efficient and friendly to additional loads of renewable energy such as wind and solar, which fluctuate depending on the weather and time of day.

The battery itself consists of 1,440 individual modules that are “just like electric vehicle batteries,” Elaina Medina, a spokeswoman for Portland General Electric in Salem, Ore., where the battery bank is installed, explained to NBC News.


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