Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)

Fairbanks, Alaska
Golden Valley Electric Association

The world’s most powerful battery storage system at the time of construction, the BESS, is bigger than a soccer field. It weighs 1,500 tons and consists of 13,760 liquid electrolyte-filled nickel-cadmium battery cells. RESPEC’s mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering designs addressed the special seismic, fire protection, and ventilation challenges involved in building the structure that house this gigantic battery system.

Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) in Fairbanks, Alaska is the electric power utility that owns the BESS. The electric utility serves a huge area that extends from Fairbanks more than a hundred miles south to Cantwell and southeast to Delta Junction. The BESS was designed to stabilize GVEA’s local grid and reduce the number of outages for customers by 65%. In 2006 alone, BESS prevented 82 outages that would have left a total of 311,000 customers without power for an average of more than an hour per outage.