Consumers Energy today ushered in a new technology on the campus of Western Michigan University, starting operation of a new large-scale battery that should store enough energy to power 1,000 homes at any time.
“Advances in battery storage technology have now reached the scale that they power entire communities on demand,” said Tim Sparks, Consumers Energy’s vice president of electric grid integration. “Our Clean Energy Plan calls for more solar and wind electric generation facilities that will depend on battery storage to be dependable sources of energy for our customers for when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun shining. The Parkview Battery Project begins the next groundbreaking chapter in the story about how clean and reliable energy reaches Consumers Energy customers.”
Western Michigan University president Ed Montgomery, local legislators and county commissioners joined Consumers Energy employees who worked on the project at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Western’s campus.
The Parkview battery site was selected through a statewide search in consultation with Michigan State University (MSU). Over the next year, Consumers Energy and MSU consultants will study data generated at the new battery facility to better the potential for battery storage use around the state. Western Michigan University engineering students will also have opportunities to participate in partnerships with Consumers Energy on electric battery research and operations.
The 1 megawatt (MW) battery’s output is about the amount of electricity used by approximately 1,000 residential electric customers in an hour. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 867 MW of utility-scale battery capacity exists in the United States based on technology similar to the Parkview battery. Large-scale batteries can support wind and solar plant electric production when declining winds and clouds reduce their output for short periods and could threaten their reliability.
“The foundation of all we do at Consumers Energy focuses on our Triple Bottom Line: people, the planet and Michigan’s prosperity. We are excited to launch this project and see how it will provide future benefits for our customers as we continue to develop responsible and environmentally friendly electric generation and storage facilities,” Sparks said.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
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