United Power announced plans to construct its first commercial scale energy storage project. Located in Firestone, CO and developed in collaboration with Chicago based SoCore Energy, the 4 MW / 16 MWh battery storage system will be the largest facility in the State of Colorado and one of the largest systems owned and operated by an electric co-op anywhere in the country.
“As one of the fastest growing co-ops in Colorado, United Power wants to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to integrating new technology that can help boost reliability and keep costs down. Energy storage will play an important role in the grid of the future, and we’re excited to be starting now,” said John Parker, CEO of United Power.
United Power partnered with SoCore Energy to develop the project, which will be located at United Power’s west office on I-25, just south of Highway 119. SoCore is a leading solar PV and energy storage developer with a special focus on serving rural electric cooperatives. SoCore and United Power selected Tesla to supply the 4 MW / 16 MWh Powerpack system.
“SoCore worked closely with United Power to understand the objectives of the project, siting and design considerations, and performance requirements. This has been a terrific partnership so far, and we’re looking forward to getting construction underway,” said SoCore President Rob Scheuermann.
The battery storage system will store energy generated in the overnight hours, when demand is low, and discharge it during peak hours to reduce demand. Curbing peak demand will reduce costs and help improve the overall efficiency of United Power’s electric grid as it serves its more than 82,000 meters.
The Firestone system is the first of several energy storage projects that United Power will roll out, piloting an innovative “community battery” strategy, allowing users to purchase a share of the battery system’s output to directly reduce demand charges on their monthly electric bills.
“United Power was one of the first utilities in the country to experiment with the ‘community solar’ concept with our Sol Partners™ program, and now there are community solar projects all over the country. ‘Community batteries’ are the next big trend,” said United Power’s New Business Director, Jerry Marizza.
SoCore Energy’s Scheuermann agrees. “Community batteries allow co-ops and their members to address the demand components of the utility bill – the portion that can’t easily be addressed with solar energy alone. Batteries provide opportunities to reduce costs, increase choices for co-ops and their members while improving resiliency of the grid.”
Construction on the system is expected to begin in the first half of 2018.