Distributed Energy Resources

Wisconsin solar farm could include battery storage system

Invenergy is in the early stages of developing a 300-megawatt direct current solar farm, possibly with a 50-MW battery storage system, in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Chicago-based power plant company intends to build the 1,400-acre facility in Paris, Wis., with construction starting late this year, according to an engineering plan filed with the town.

A battery energy storage system may be included with the project to provide frequency response, capacity on demand, generation smoothing, shifting and firming, Invenergy said. Depending on its configuration, the system could provide 50 megawatt-hours to 200 MWh.

Invenergy estimated that annual output from the battery system could range from 36,500 MWh to 146,000 MWh. According to local media reports, this would be the first utility-scale battery deployed in Wisconsin.

In late April, Invenergy plans to ask the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project, said Beth Conley, company spokeswoman. If the project moves ahead, Invenergy expects to bring it online in mid-2021.

Invenergy plans to develop the project as a merchant facility but is in discussions with utilities to explore commercial options, Conley said.

Separately, Invenergy is developing the 300-MW Badger Hollow solar farm in southwest Wisconsin. If approved by the PSC, Madison Gas & Electric plans to buy a 50-MW stake in the project and Wisconsin Public Service intends to buy 100 MW. Invenergy plans to bring the project into service in 2020.

Invenergy has built wind projects totaling about 13,580 MW, natural gas-fired power plants totaling 5,640 MW, solar projects totaling 2,750 MW and battery storage projects totaling 68 MW.

Currently, Wisconsin has about 67 MW of installed solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. However, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator is reviewing interconnection requests for solar projects totaling 4,615 MW.

MISO is also studying interconnection requests for three battery projects in Wisconsin totaling 170 MW.