INDIANAPOLIS - Can renewable energy be available when customers need it as opposed to only when the sun shines or wind blows?
Storing energy from the sun and wind and using it efficiently on the electric grid will be the focus of new research at Southern Indianas Battery Innovation Center (BIC) near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.
Duke Energy and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) are partnering with the Battery Innovation Center to advance energy storage research, particularly as it applies to homes and communities. The initiative is part of a 2012 regulatory settlement between the OUCC and Duke Energy.
"Through this new partnership between the OUCC, BIC and Duke Energy, Indiana will continue to grow the public/private partnerships necessary to bring together the talent and resources to make our state a leader in energy storage," noted Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, who made the announcement from the Indiana Statehouse this morning.
Duke Energy is funding $1 million in research at the Battery Innovation Center to study how battery storage can maximize renewable power sources such as rooftop solar panels and small wind turbines and integrate them into the electric grid.
"Electricity is a unique commodity because it must be produced at the exact time its needed," said Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann. "Technology that can store energy is a way to advance renewable energy sources such as wind and solar which are clean, but not always available when power is needed. We believe the research were announcing today can pay dividends for our customers in the future."
The project also includes installing energy storage systems at two schools served by Duke Energy, preferably with renewable energy sources already on site. The systems will test the benefits of energy storage and serve as a living learning lab for students. The schools have not yet been selected.
"At the heart of energy security is having renewable energy available based on demand as opposed to only when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing," said Battery Innovation Center President David Roberts. 'We'll be able to simulate the electric grid with this project and evaluate hardware and battery options while improving the software that controls smaller-scale renewable generation."
After the project lab is created, the Battery Innovation Center expects to begin testing this fall. The school programs will begin by winter, and testing will continue into 2016.
"The technology the center will study has the potential to benefit all electric consumers," said Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor David Stippler. "Promoting the reliability of renewable resources into the energy mix when needed is a crucial element in enhancing the quality of everyones daily lives. The centers research will put consumers a step closer to that reality, which will be good for residential customers, our schools and businesses alike."
Some areas the project will study:
- How renewable energy generated at homes and businesses can be stored and used at a later time to meet a home’s or community’s needs.
- How energy storage can compensate for the effects of weather on renewable energy sources.
- How storage systems can be a backup source of energy if there are supply shortages or disruptions on the electric grid.
The Battery Innovation Center is a unique public-private partnership and not-for-profit organization that incorporates leadership from world-class universities, commercial enterprises, and government organizations to focus on the rapid development, testing and commercialization of safe, reliable and lighter weight energy storage systems for commercial and defense organizations. Located adjacent to Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, the Battery Innovation Center provides both a virtual collaborative network of capabilities needed for development of next generation energy storage solutions as well as a new, state-of-the-art, $15.6 million energy research lab.
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with approximately $121 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCCs mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving. Follow the OUCC on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn