The utility deployed a 25kWh lithium-ion battery in Beecher, Illinois. If an outage occurs, the battery is able to supply an hour of backup power to the three homes selected for the project.
According to Midwest Energy News, the pilot project is part of a broader experiment in community energy storage (CES) defined as the "deployment of medium-sized batteries in between those found in utility-scale applications and the kind of personal, home-battery systems offered by Tesla and others."
Midwest Energy News' David J Unger writes that when put together, these systems equate to the "scale of larger, more centralized energy-storage systems."
The Beecher community energy storage project will run for a year, and is aimed at mitigating reliability issues. Manuel Avendano, the manager of emerging technology at the utility's distribution planning and smart grid group explained that the area experiences an unusually high amount of outages due to challenges with a nearby medium voltage line that serves it.
Delivering electric reliability
Michelle Blaise, ComEd’s senior vice president of technical Services, said: "Through grid modernization and smart grid investments, our reliability performance has been best on record for five years running, and we’re committed to continuous improvement."
She adds: “We want all ComEd customers to experience great reliability and that’s why we’re innovating and piloting emerging technologies such as energy storage
to bring new value to communities and help improve service for our customers.”
Avendano noted that if successful, CES can provide other benefits. These include the integration of increasing amounts of solar energy and reducing peak demand.
ComEd is deploying S&C Electric Company's PureWave Community Energy Storage system. Purewave has bee utilitised by several utilities in the US and across the world,
according to director of grid solutions at S&C.
He said: “CES is really what we consider edge-of-grid deployment." Miller explains that in these cases, batteries are deployed in the community, in closer proximity to homeowners and businesses.
He adds that while each individual battery is relatively small, "they can be aggregated to provide a grid-sized effect."
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