Connexus Energy, Minnesota’s largest retail electric cooperative, is in negotiations to build a 20 MW, 40 MWh energy storage system, Midwest Energy News reports.
The storage facility would be located next to three solar power plants with an aggregate capacity of 10 MW that Connexus plans to build next summer.
- Connexus says the energy storage system could be deployed for a combination of uses, including peak shaving, demand response, and frequency regulation.
Minnesota has nearly reached its 25% by 2025 renewable portfolio standard target and is looking at increasing that target to 50% by 2030. Demand for renewables is also growing among the state’s electric cooperatives.
At a recent Connexus strategic planning meeting, members said they are interested in increasing the amount of distributed energy on the system, as long as it can be done without raising rates. And as prices continue to fall, adding storage to solar power is becoming increasingly economic, Brian Burandt, vice president of power supply and business development at Connexus, told Midwest Energy News.
Burandt said the storage system would be the largest in Minnesota.
Connexus is a member of Great River Energy, a wholesale electric service provider serving 28 cooperatives. Other coops are also becoming interested in energy storage as a way of managing peak demand and the intermittency of solar power. But the coops are still exploring the benefits and costs of storage and how well batteries will perform in Minnesota’s cold winters.
“Our members are figuring out what those benefits mean specifically to Minnesota,” Nathan Domyahn, GRE’s director of Minnesota generation, told Midwest Energy News.