City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri, will partner with an energy storage company called NorthStar on a pilot utility-scale energy storage project that will look at the ability of a large battery pack to help meet the demand for energy during times of peak power usage.
The $1 million project will be one of the first such storage systems — if not the first — in the Midwest, said Joel Alexander, manager of communications at the public power utility, in an April 25 interview with the American Public Power Association.
City Utilities will use the energy storage system at a substation in southwest Springfield. The storage system will consist of advanced sealed lead acid batteries manufactured by NorthStar, which has a factory in Springfield. The batteries will not only be made locally in Springfield, but also will be recyclable, Alexander said.
The batteries will be housed in a trailer that is 40 feet long and 10 feet wide, he explained. The unit will hold about 1,100 batteries, each of which will be twice the size of an average car battery.
The battery storage system is expected to be able to provide enough power to serve 800 homes for an hour (or 100 homes for eight hours), he said. The average home in Springfield uses 859 kilowatt-hours per month.
The city-owned utility sees this project as "something that could make it possible to use more renewables," he said, noting that the utility has invested in 200 megawatts of wind energy from a wind farm in Oklahoma and has a 5-MW solar plant in Springfield.
"We're very excited with this opportunity to work with our community partner NorthStar on this pilot project," said Scott Miller, general manager of City Utilities. "The opportunity to provide a platform for research that supports renewable integration options for our customers and potentially globally is something everyone at CU is excited about."
The cost of the system will be split between City Utilities and NorthStar, Alexander said.
The pilot project is expected to be in operation by September 2017.
NorthStar, which was founded in 2000, has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. The company is owned by the Swedish private equity firm Altor.