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FIRST TROLLEY BATTERY IN UNITED STATES CHARGED UP IN LA MESA

 FIRST TROLLEY BATTERY IN UNITED STATES CHARGED UP IN LA MESA
 /ADVANCE/ LA MESA, Calif., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The largest battery system in the United States designed to reduce customer peak load is starting a two-year trial run to see if it can cut energy costs for the San Diego Trolley Inc. (SDTI) system.
 The $1.4 million SDTI Battery Energy Storage Project will demonstrate the feasibility of using a battery system to store off- peak electric energy for use during peak demand periods. It is located at SDTI's Grossmont Center Trolley Station in La Mesa.
 If the demonstration proves successful, SDTI and other major commercial customers may find battery storage to be a useful energy alternative that could help reduce energy bills. Based on projected operation, battery storage facilities could save more than $800,000 yearly if fully implemented throughout the SDTI system.
 "This is another example of our utility using innovative technology in an alliance with our customers," said Jack Thomas, president and chief operating officer of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), during dedication ceremonies today. "Batteries are a quiet, clean method of storing and delivering energy."
 In operation, the battery system would be charged up with low- cost energy during low-demand periods, such as at night or early in the morning. The battery would be allowed to discharge during high- demand periods, usually afternoon or early evening periods. The battery system will fully discharge in two hours.
 Project participants include the San Diego Trolley Inc., the San Diego Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB), and SDG&E. SDG&E designed, built and will operate the battery system during a two-year test. After the demonstration period, MTDB will have the opportunity to purchase the battery system for continued service.
 "In the century since San Diego Street Car Co. first electrified its lines, San Diego's public transit has been an important customer of SDG&E," said MTDB Chairman and former State Sen. James R. Mills. "San Diego Trolley and MTDB are pleased to have this opportunity to work with SDG&E to keep our bills down so we can concentrate on moving people."
 Construction began in November 1991, at the SDTI's Grossmont Center Trolley Station, adjacent to an existing electric substation. The substation (there are 28 located along SDTI's tracks) can supply up to one-half megawatt (500,000 watts) of power to light rail vehicles (LRV) arriving or leaving the Grossmont Center Station. The substations are necessary because, unlike homes or businesses, each LRV is a moving energy load. If an electrically operated train moves too far from a source of power, it ceases to operate.
 The 576 batteries in the facility were developed and built by Yuasa-Exide Inc., of Reading, Pa. The unit is housed in a 20-foot- by-30-foot shelter and can supply 200 kilowatts (200,000 watts) to support the electrical demand of the station. Two hundred kilowatts is sufficient energy to meet the needs of 100 average San Diego homes. The individual 1.2-volt batteries are connected in series to produce more than 690 volts. The batteries use a lead acid, gelled- electrolyte design, similar in nature to low-maintenance automobile batteries.
 The main components also include a solid-state power conversion system and a control data and acquisition system. The converter changes 240-volt AC electrical service into 600-volt DC current that can be stored by the batteries. The control system will regulate the charge and discharge of the batteries and record all research information. The converter was supplied by Omnion Power Engineering Corp., Mukwonago, Wis., and the control system by Leeds & Northrup, a unit of General Signal, North Wales, Pa.
 "Although this battery only supplies about one-fifth of the needed energy at this single station, its contribution to reducing SDTI's peak demand energy needs could provide significant cost savings," said Thomas. "Whatever we can do to help to ease the energy needs of our customers will benefit the environment and lower costs."
 Fact Sheet: San Diego Trolley Battery Storage Project
 BATTERY: This is the largest battery facility supplying a
 transit system in the United States. The battery unit
 is composed of 576 individual, 1.2 volt, lead-acid
 battery cells, similar to a low-maintenance car
 battery. Each cell weighs about 100 pounds. All of
 the cells are wired together to produce 200 kilowatts
 of power at 690 volts, sufficient power to meet the
 average demand of 100 San Diego homes. Customer
 benefits include reduced energy costs. Potential
 savings for a single battery facility is about
 $30,000 per year, or more than $800,000 yearly if the
 entire San Diego Trolley system were equipped with
 battery storage devices. The battery facility also
 saves on the cost of building new transmission and
 distribution systems, increases local electric power
 control and provides local energy reserves.
 LOCATION: San Diego Trolley's Grossmont Center Trolley Station
 Grossmont Center Drive and Fletcher Parkway
 La Mesa
 COST: $1.4 million. Paid by SDG&E.
 PARTICIPANTS: San Diego Gas & Electric; San Diego Trolley Inc.,
 Metropolitan Transit Development Board
 OPERATION: Electricity from the SDG&E utility grid is converted
 and stored in the batteries during low-demand
 periods. This energy is less-costly than energy
 produced during peak-demand periods. At peak time,
 the battery discharges its stored electricity into
 the San Diego Trolley electric grid, replacing
 expensive on-peak electricity. Conversion of the
 electricity for use by the battery is done with a
 first-of-a-kind, solid state power conversion system.
 PEAK DEMAND: Time of highest energy demand during a day.
 Usually, peak demand occurs between 11 a.m. and
 6 p.m. on summer days and between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
 during winter months.
 BATTERY LIFE: Life of the battery is warrantied at 1,500 cycles,
 or eight years.
 -0- 11/10/92/1300
 /CONTACT: Fred Vaughn of SDG&E, 619-696-4308; or Heather Kunz, of MTDB, 619-231-1466/ CO: San Diego Trolley Inc.; San Diego Gas & Electric; Metropolitan
 Transit Development Board ST: California IN: UTI SU:


JB-LS -- SD001 -- 9155 11/10/92 10:01 EST
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Date:Nov 10, 1992
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