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America’s first commercial rail energy storage receives BLM approval

Staff writer |
Advanced Rail Energy Storage proposed commercial-scale gravity-based rail energy storage project (ARES Nevada) has been granted a right-of-way lease by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

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Once operational, the 50-megawatt project will encompass 106 acres of public land in Southern Nevada, near Pahrump in Clark and Nye Counties, and help stabilize the electric grid. ARES Nevada will connect to the power western grid via the facilities of Valley Electric Association.

"Creative solutions like ARES Nevada provide a more reliable and modern electric grid and help create an even cleaner energy future for our citizens" said Angie Dykema, Director of the Nevada Governor's Office of Energy.

Utilizing gravity, ARES Nevada will store energy and release it for dispatch when it's needed. Using a single railroad track sited on a gentle grade, multiple electric locomotive cars can move up the track as they receive excess power from solar and wind power plants during sunny and windy days.

The train cars will remain available and, when needed, be dispatched slowly downhill, using their motor-generators to return power to the electricity grid. ARES Nevada will provide a wide range of ancillary services, enabling the grid to adjust to momentary changes in demand and help stabilize grid voltage and frequency.

Scheduled to be underway once permitting and environmental compliance process are complete, the ARES Nevada project will provide approximately 100 to 125 full-time local jobs during an eight month construction phase, and anticipates 16 full-time positions once in operation.

The project's life is expected to span 40 years or more with only routine maintenance.

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