Political leaders help launch Avista's energy storage project at SEL

PULLMAN, WA - Over the next 18 months, Avista will experiment with a large scale battery-system as a back-up power source for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman.

Jenee' Ryan tells why this is such a milestone.

"1-2-3 go Cougs!...Switch is on, baby!" said Governor Jay Inslee

And just like that, Avista's energy storage system is online with Washington's electrical grid.

"This is really a game changer today for our electricity grid," said Senator Maria Cantwell.

Today (Thursday) Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Senator Maria Cantwell and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers visited Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman.

"Today we're celebrating Pullman as the first Smart Grid City in the entire state," said McMorris-Rodgers.

They dedicated and energized the first battery both developed and commercialized in the U.S.

"That's the largest redux-flow battery in North America and Europe," said Dr. Gary Yang, CEO UniEnergy Technologies.

The battery allows Avista to gather solar and wind power when the sun shines and gusts blow

"And when the wind isn't blowing that much, we'll still be able to reliably deliver energy to our customers," said Heather Rosentrater, Director of Engineering and Grid Innovation at Avista.

"That has been sort of the secret key to maximizing the use of renewable energy," said Governor Inslee.

And Governor Inslee said he'd proud to say that key was invented, produced and activated by the people of Washington.

"It will be an example for the rest of the country and the rest of the world," said Dr. Imre Gyuk, Energy Storage Program Manager with the US Dept. of Energy.

The energy storage project costs $7 million dollars. Avista covered half the cost while Governor Inslee granted the rest. If the experiments go well at SEL the battery technology will be integrated on a larger scale.