Innovative project launched with commissioning ceremony in Pensacola, Florida

Gulf Power and Southern Company executives and experts hosted a commissioning and ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration designed to help industrial and commercial customers store and use energy on demand, while improving resiliency and potentially helping customers save on
energy cost in the future. Cutting the ribbon for the two-year research project included (l-r) Steve Baxley, Southern Company Research and Development; Stan Connally, Gulf Power Chairman, President, and CEO; Kim Greene, Chief Operating Officer, Southern Company; Carl Jackson, Research and Development research engineer at Southern Company; and Wendell Smith, Gulf Power Vice President, Customer Service and Sales

PENSACOLA, Fla. –  Continuing its 100-year commitment to innovation and historic focus on the research and development of emerging energy solutions, Gulf Power and its parent, Southern Company, today officially launched the latest battery storage research project in Southern Company’s operating territory. The project represents another important milestone in the companys’ work to build the future of energy.

The two-year McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration will demonstrate the capabilities and requirements of an energy storage system designed to help industrial and commercial customers store and use energy on demand, while improving resiliency and potentially helping customers save on energy costs in the future.

Located in Pensacola, Florida, at Gulf Power’s Douglas L. McCrary Training and Storm Center, the new research project will test and evaluate a 250 kilowatt/1 megawatt-hour Tesla Powerpack lithium-ion industrial energy storage system. Insights gained from the Gulf Power demonstration are expected to accelerate the development of battery storage technology across the Southern Company system. The lithium-ion technology under evaluation is the same battery chemistry used in electric vehicles and consumer electronics such as laptops.

Carl Jackson, Research and Development research engineer for Southern Company, briefs on the capabilities of the two-year McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration.

Company executives and experts hosted a commissioning and ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the project’s opening.

“Gulf Power is proud to be involved in this battery energy storage demonstration at the McCrary Training and Storm Center and to be in the forefront of evaluating innovative energy technologies,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power Chairman, President, and CEO.  “Throughout our history, we have been host to the development of energy solutions that have resulted in greater energy efficiency, cleaner energy production, and value for our customers – and this commissioning event signals our on-going commitment to build a better energy future.”

“At Southern Company, we are constantly broadening our industry-leading expertise to harness new technologies that can deliver clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy to customers,” said Southern Company Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kimberly S. Greene. “This collaborative research project with Gulf Power will deepen our understanding of battery energy storage systems and the value they can provide.”

The McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration was developed by Southern Company research and development in partnership with Gulf Power and with support from the Electric Power Research Institute and Tesla.

Specifically, the project aims to further the understanding of the siting, installation and operational requirements of commercial- and industrial-scale energy storage systems. It will provide information on the advantages battery storage can offer customers and energy providers through peak shaving, demand management, ancillary services, energy arbitrage and backup power.

Gulf Power has, for decades, led the way in the energy industry in innovation and research. Prior to the McCrary Center battery energy storage project, the energy company launched a Powerwall home battery system in partnership with SolarEdge and Tesla for several applications including rooftop solar energy storing, maximizing the impact of time-of-use rates by charging directly from the grid, and for studying the technology to see the benefits of power grid reliability and efficiency.

Gulf Power has also partnered with Southern Company and a team of utilities, universities and contractors on an Electric Power Research Institute-led project focused on overcoming the challenges of adding more and more solar energy onto the grid. The three-year research project, “SHINES” –– Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar photovoltaic (PV) ––  is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, Southern Company and Gulf Power. The team will integrate solar PV systems and energy storage at three test sites across the country, including Pensacola.

Infographic: McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration
Infographic: McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration

The McCrary Battery Energy Storage Demonstration is just one component of Southern Company’s energy storage research portfolio, which includes residential, commercial, industrial and utility-scale battery projects in locations across the company’s Southeastern electric service territory.

“This project aligns with our rich history of innovation at Gulf Power,” added Connally, “and will serve our customers with a more robust energy future.”