Consumers, the second largest utility in Michigan, is looking to bring on more renewable resources but believes storage will be key to their integration.
May 5, 2016
By: Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Consumers, the second largest utility in Michigan, is looking to bring on more renewable resources but believes storage will be key to their integration. The company is partnering with MSU on a storage pilot aimed at helping it better understand how and where storage can best be utilized.
“Whether it’s customer storage or utility storage, it’s going to provide customer value in that we can help the grid be more interactive and responsive to changing loads and reap the economic benefits of storage," Nancy Popa, Consumers’ executive director of renewable energy, told Midwest Energy News.
The news outlet reported word of the storage pilot first came out during an energy conference in the state earlier this month.
“We see it as an opportunity — it’s basically a change in technology that we think will provide customer value at some point in time,” Popa said. "There is going to be more and more renewables [built] that are intermittent resources."
As battery prices have declined, predictions of their use have grown rapidly. In 2014, Navigant forecasted that the global market for advanced batteries for utility-scale energy storage applications will grow from $164 million in 2014 to more than $2.5 billion in 2023.
Last year, Consumers Energy launched its "Solar Gardens" programs, planning up to 10 MW of community solar, again in partnership with educational facilities. The utility picked two college campuses – Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University – as possible sites for the gardens.