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Corn Belt Power Cooperative recently installed a battery energy storage system in their service area in a trial project designed to evaluate the emerging technology.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative, which provides power to electric co-ops across the Midwest including Corn Belt Power, introduced a member-owned Trial Battery Rate into its rate book in 2019. The rate allocates up to 150 kilowatts per distribution cooperative.

Corn Belt Power collaborated with its membership, which includes Midland Power, to develop a plan that allowed each member-cooperative to pool its individual allocation and create one large battery energy storage system. This system is a 1.425 megawatt Tesla® Megapack which Corn Belt Power integrated into the Hampton Substation.

Total project cost is near $3.5 million, which includes the battery storage system, engineering, site preparation and labor. The stored power from the battery will allow Corn Belt Power to avoid purchasing 1.425 megawatts of power during peak usage times for up to six hours. This is enough energy to power roughly 145 homes for six hours at a time.

Once the battery’s energy is depleted, it will recharge during off-peak times in preparation for its next disbursement.

“We want to learn more about battery technology, from the process of procuring and installing the batteries to operation and how the batteries can benefit Midland Power Cooperative and Corn Belt Power,” said Jacob Olberding, vice president, power supply, Corn Belt Power. “We will also use the battery project as a load management resource. By doing so, we hope the batteries pay for themselves in 12 years.”

Corn Belt Power plans to share ongoing performance data with Midland and the rest of its membership to highlight the battery’s ability to reduce member-cooperative power costs. This sharing of operational information will provide the membership with education and insights to support future use of battery storage technology.