Sustainability

Consumers Energy to run battery storage pilot

Collaborating with California-based Sunverge, utility company aims to find grid locations with highest potential for energy storage.

November 8, 2019
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Jackson-based Consumers Energy has announced a collaboration with California-based Sunverge to leverage the company’s energy storage technology for a Consumers Energy residential battery storage pilot.

Consumers will take advantage of Sunverge's distributed energy resources management platform, which will provide the company with real-time grid-edge visibility and management capabilities, helping to identify grid locations with the highest potential and value from energy storage, such as avoided energy and outage costs.

“We are conducting this pilot to test and measure how aggregated battery storage may have the potential to offer benefits to Michigan’s electric grid and our customers,” said Ryan Kiley, executive director of product development for Consumers Energy. “The Sunverge platform’s ability to co-optimize grid services is key to our decision to work with them.”

During the pilot, Consumers is testing to understand the different values batteries could provide to the overall grid, such as potential investment deferral, resiliency and reliability, while also providing backup of critical loads for pilot participants.

Sunverge worked with Consumers Energy to evaluate the energy provider’s distribution circuits and identify grid locations suitable to test the potential benefits and value from behind the meter battery storage. Consumers Energy used this analysis to select a circuit in the Grand Rapids area to conduct the pilot.

“We are excited to be working with the Consumers Energy team to help them better understand how they may be able to leverage aggregated and orchestrated behind-the-meter storage to provide an overall grid benefit and support their goal of generating 40% of their energy from renewable sources by 2040,” said Martin Milani, CEO of Sunverge.

Consumers Energy this summer celebrated the Michigan Public Service Commission’s approval of its Integrated Resource Plan. According to the plan, Consumers expects to meet 90% of customers’ electricity capacity needs through clean energy resources like renewable energy, energy waste reduction and energy storage by 2040. 

The energy provider also will add 5,000 megawatts of solar energy by 2030. The utility already has completed several projects covered in previous Business Journal reports. In January, the company dedicated its first combined rooftop solar array and battery storage system at the Bridge Street Market/WMCAT building in the Circuit West energy district of Grand Rapids. In September, the company began operation of the Parkview Battery Project, a 1 MW battery located at Western Michigan University.

Other IRP highlights include: 

  • Transition to zero coal: Carbon emissions from power plants will be reduced more than 90% by 2040.

  • Taking action on goals today: Consumers Energy is working now on goals to save 1 billion gallons of water; reduce waste to landfills by 35%; and enhance, restore or protect 5,000 acres of land in Michigan.

More energy solutions: Consumers Energy encourages customers to use energy more efficiently. The company’s energy efficiency programs already have helped customers save $2.6 billion since 2009. Customers can reduce energy waste, shift energy use to more affordable times, invest in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and support new renewable energy.

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