Powering Strong Communities

APPA To Assist Public Power Utilities With Energy Storage Under DOE Funding

The American Public Power Association (APPA) will bring together public power utilities to facilitate discussion, evaluate opportunities, and define barriers to integrating energy storage technologies with power plants thanks to funding it has received from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). APPA will also work with DOE and other stakeholders to mitigate these barriers.

The cooperative agreement issued with the award “will support the development of tools, educational resources and training in long-term planning and policy analysis to improve the conditions of frontline communities impacted by the legacy of fossil fuel use and support a healthy transition to a clean energy economy,” DOE said.

APPA will also develop educational resources, publications and technical tools for public power utilities that will enhance their ability to explore and implement energy storage projects. “This work will directly benefit public power utilities, as well as the customers and communities that rely on them to ensure regional grid stability,” DOE noted.

“Integration of new resources can be leveraged to enhance the resilience of a public power utility,” said Nathan Mitchell, Senior Director of Operations Programs at APPA. “Being knowledgeable and prepared for this energy transition will help position public power utilities to meet the needs of their customers with high resilience and low emission energy delivery systems.”

He noted that energy storage is a developing technology and some public power utilities have utilized it for the benefit of their city and customers.

For example, Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) in Massachusetts in 2019 marked a major milestone related to the department’s two energy storage systems. In March of that year, SMLD celebrated over $1 million in avoided costs to the light department, thanks to the two systems.

APPA plans to utilize the lessons learned from these and other energy storage installations to inform the work of a new energy storage working group to analyze the feasibility of energy storage at fossil fuel plants to enhance resiliency and lower emissions. DOE will provide $100,000 per year for five years, while APPA will provide $25,000 of in-kind cost share per year for five years, for a total value of $625,000.

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will serve as the contracting authority for the cooperative agreement.