Local electric co-op launches battery pilot project
MiEnergy Cooperative recently launched an innovative pilot project to test the benefits of battery storage. As part of the pilot, four 16 kilowatt-hour smart battery storage systems are being installed at homes of co-op members.
“We want to gain a better understanding of battery technology on a small scale, like a residential home,” said Brian Krambeer, MiEnergy’s president/CEO. “We will be testing the batteries for use as a tool for energy management. It’s an opportunity to see how it could benefit our members.”
Being able to seamlessly switch a home’s electric source from the grid to a battery and back could help the cooperative manage electricity during peak energy periods. As an added benefit, the battery could provide backup power during power outages.
The first battery was commissioned on October 15 at a home in Minnesota City, Minn. MiEnergy will install a second battery at a residence in Winona, Minn., by the end of the month and two others in Decorah and Ridgeway, Iowa by year’s end.
MiEnergy is the first of four cooperatives that have commissioned a battery storage system as part of the pilot, which is sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The other electric cooperatives participating include Richland Electric Cooperative, of Richland Center, Wis., Oakdale Electric Cooperative, of Oakdale, Wis., and Jo-Carroll Energy, of Elizabeth, Ill. All four electric distribution cooperatives are served by Dairyland Power Cooperative, of La Crosse, Wis.