Burns & McDonnell Completes Commissioning of Plus Power’s 1-GWh Stand-Alone Energy Storage Facility in Arizona
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Burns & McDonnell Completes Commissioning of Plus Power’s 1-GWh Stand-Alone Energy Storage Facility in Arizona
06/24/2024 2 minute read

PHOENIX, Arizona — Burns & McDonnell has helped complete Plus Power’s new 250-megawatt (MW)/1,000-megawatt-hour (MWh) Sierra Estrella Energy Storage facility for Salt River Project (SRP). The project team was able to achieve completion and turn the Sierra Estrella facility over for operations ahead of schedule. Burns & McDonnell served as the engineer-procure-construct (EPC) contractor of record on the project.

Electric load continues to grow statewide, as Arizona continues to add jobs and manufacturing sites. SRP, a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility, is adding a diverse mix of power generation resources to help accommodate this growth and meet energy demand. The Sierra Estrella BESS facility will store electricity — enough to power 56,000 homes for a four-hour period — produced when energy demand is lower and release the electricity when demand is higher.

Located within the Phoenix metro area in Avondale, the Sierra Estrella project is the largest stand-alone energy storage facility in Arizona. The facility utilizes more than 275 Tesla Megapacks, state-of-the-art lithium iron phosphate battery energy storage systems to provide stability and reliability to the electric grid.

“It was very important to have this project online before summer in Arizona was in full swing,” says Brandon Keefe, CEO of Plus Power. “This project will play an important part in helping SRP meet its needs for sustainable and reliable energy.”

The Burns & McDonnell project team executed a number of innovative steps to complete construction in less than a year. Among them: An assembly line approach allowed each discipline to execute work packages in a linear fashion, enabling adherence to a tight schedule. As one team completed foundation pours, for example, the next was ready to set equipment, followed sequentially with installation of above-grade connections and commissioning.

The team also left room for Plus Power’s designs for battery augmentation.

“The project’s motto, ‘BELIEVE,’ spurred Burns & McDonnell and Plus Power to unite toward a common goal, determinedly striving until we reached the finish line,” says Charles Wallis, EPC project manager at Burns & McDonnell. “I’m extremely proud of the collaboration and coordination the team exemplified to overcome the challenges and complete this project ahead of schedule.”

The EPC firm’s scope included civil and structural site work across an 11.5-acre site, unloading, setting and installing the Tesla Megapacks, fire detection, electrical balance of plant (BOP) engineering design, substation design, and procurement of BOP and the 230-kilovolt (kV) air-insulated collector substation equipment, along with construction services.

“The Sierra Estrella project is a huge success story for the storage business, Plus Power, SRP, Burns & McDonnell and our partners on the project.  We are proud to play a part in bringing this vision to life and to continue supporting the provision of clean energy for the region,” says Scott Strawn, vice president and general manager for the Power Group at Burns & McDonnell.

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of more than 14,000 engineers, construction and craft professionals, architects, and more to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities. Founded in 1898 and working from 75 offices globally, Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned. Learn how we are designed to build.