Greensmith Energy, a Wärtsilä Company, and American Electric Power (AEP) are to install a 4MW energy storage system integrated with the Buck and Byllesby hydroelectric power plants in southwest Virginia, US – described as the world's first hybridized system of its kind to provide ancillary services.

Due to begin operating in the first quarter of 2018, the system will deliver PJM frequency regulation market (Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland power pool) one of the first new energy storage systems since the adoption of new frequency regulation signals and requirements for regulation service. Harnessing Greensmith's GEMS software platform that offers multiple storage applications, the project will serve both of PJM's frequency regulation markets, including traditional regulation known as RegA and dynamic regulation known as RegD.

"The advent and growth of hybridized power, enabled by the integration of intelligent energy storage, has always been a key part of our technology vision," said Greensmith CEO John Jung. "Although we've delivered six grid-scale energy storage systems to the PJM market, this innovative hybrid project will see AEP raise the standard for hydroelectric use-cases globally. And the potential for hybridization is massive as hydroelectricity represents over 1,000 gigawatts of generation globally, roughly a sixth of the world's total."

Expected to operate for 20 years, the programmable energy storage system running on the GEMS software platform can optimize participation between RegA and RegD signals based fluctuations in market values over time.

Buck and Byllesby are operated by Appalachian Power, a utility subsidiary of AEP. The hydroelectric plants have been in operation since 1912 and are located on the New River.