The Nebraska Public Power District and the City of Norfolk, Neb., are seeking funding for a demonstration project that would combine a battery energy storage system with a solar power installation, NPPD said on Sept. 25.
NPPD submitted an application for a grant of $490,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the two-year project. Grant proposal selections are expected to be announced in April 2019.
As a participant in the grant request, the City of Norfolk has committed to provide in-kind support by contributing the real estate for the project site, conducting weekly inspections, and guiding public tours.
The grant only covers the battery energy storage system, which would be tied to a proposed community solar project that would likely come online late in 2019. The battery storage system is sized at 1 MW, but the capacity of the solar installation has not yet been determined, NPPD spokesman Mark Becker said.
The design of the demonstration project calls for the batteries to be charged by the solar panels and discharged to accomplish several goals, including demand management, voltage support, and smoothing and shifting the variability of renewable energy generation.
The demonstration project has a minimum two-year term, but no length has been set beyond the 2021 end date of the grant, Becker said.
The knowledge gained from the demonstration project could be reproduced by other Nebraska electrical utilities, Dave Rich, NPPD’s sustainable energy manager, said.
In the first year, the demonstration project would provide a summary of distribution benefits to NPPD’s wholesale and retail customers and members of the Nebraska Power Association. In year two, the project would provide a summary of production benefits to the same audience.
Nebraska is one of about a dozen states that does not have a renewable portfolio standard, but NPPD does have a goal of deriving 10% of its energy supply from wind generation by 2020. NPPD has participated in bringing online eight wind farms totaling 491 MW and nearly six MW of solar installation from four facilities across the state.