Plug supplies 8 MW of hydrogen fuel cells to Energy Vault to displace diesel generators

Plug Power Inc., a leading provider of turnkey hydrogen solutions for the global green hydrogen economy, announced it will supply Energy Vault Holdings, Inc. with 8 MW (megawatts) of hydrogen fuel cell stationary power to deliver clean energy to the city of Calistoga, located in California Wine Country, during times of wildfires and other emergencies.

This will be the largest planned hydrogen-powered fuel cell installation in the United States. The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) requires that state utility grid operators shut off power during severe weather to help prevent wildfires. Energy Vault has typically rented mobile diesel generators to provide backup power in Calistoga during these Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events. Now, Plug’s PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cells will offer cleaner, more operationally flexible, and more cost-effective power to the microgrid.

“Our agreement with Energy Vault marks a huge step forward for hydrogen fuel cells in the microgrid market and represents the future of utility power backup,” said Andy Marsh. “Green hydrogen is uniquely positioned to solve the need for clean long-duration energy storage in at-risk communities like Calistoga that are susceptible to power interruptions. Plug’s fuel cell solutions make it easy for partners like Energy Vault to harness the power of hydrogen fuel cell technology and realize CPUC’s vision of clean microgrid generation.”

Energy Vault previously announced it is building a community microgrid for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to provide Calistoga with a minimum of 293 megawatt-hours (MWh) of dispatchable carbon-free energy during planned outages and PSPS events. The microgrid will integrate a short-duration battery system with a long-duration storage system of fuel cells and green liquid hydrogen. Plug’s fuel cell technology will serve as the microgrid’s stationary backup power generator.

The energy storage system will be owned, operated, and maintained by Energy Vault while providing dispatchable power under a long-term tolling agreement with PG&E. Plug will deliver 8 MW of fuel cell power, made up of 40-foot ISO containers. The fuel cells will be manufactured in the US, primarily at Plug’s gigafactory in Rochester, New York, and assembled and tested at Vista Technology Park, Plug’s world-class fuel cell manufacturing facility in Slingerlands, New York. This production approach will allow Energy Vault to take advantage of the additional 10% ITC available under the IRA for American-made content.

Construction of the energy storage system in Calistoga is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023 with commercial operation expected by the third quarter of 2024.

Haseeb Ullah

Haseeb covers the global energy market for both conventional and modern energy resources. His expertise is on the global energy supply chain from generation to distribution and end-users. He has a Master degree in Engineering Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
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