US’ NRECA and DOE to trial storage tech with 4 rural installations


The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has launched four rural battery storage projects in partnership with five electric cooperatives and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity.

DOE’s Office of Electricity will partially fund the projects by providing approximately $1.3 million in cost-share funding for the one-year project. The funding will help offset the design, purchase, installation and commissioning of batteries at the four sites, and will examine how energy storage systems can improve the resilience of critical infrastructure in rural areas.

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Two of the projects will be integrated directly into separate cooperative facilities and two into military bases served by electric cooperatives.

NRECA’s partners on the battery storage projects include Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association in Colorado, West River Electric Association in South Dakota, and, in North Carolina, Sandhills Utility Services, Tideland EMC and North Carolina EMC.

Lessons learned and findings from the projects will be shared with electric cooperatives across the nation for potential implementation at other facilities, and will help fulfil the Department of Defense energy assurance goals. Technical assistance will be provided by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

“This is a great example of how America’s electric co-ops and the more than 95 military facilities that they serve are evolving together,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “Meeting future energy needs requires a commitment to research and innovation. This new program will improve resilience while expanding our understanding of how battery technology can be used in new applications throughout rural America.”

“America relies on rural communities, and rural communities rely on electricity,” said Dr. Imre Gyuk, director of energy storage in DOE’s Office of Electricity. “By using storage, these projects will help to make the supply of electricity more resilient, greener, and sustainable, as well as more cost effective.”