Utility-scale energy storage solutions are still emerging, and most require significant capital investment or are not ready for full-scale implementation. Fortunately, nearly all co-ops have existing distributed energy storage resources that can provide the same benefits as utility-scale storage — electric water heaters. Programs that make use of these existing distributed energy storage resources are increasingly being referred to as community storage programs. This article explains the concept of community storage, provides examples of community storage programs currently being implemented at co-ops and other utilities, and explains key steps that a co-op can take to launch a community storage program and how it can complement a wide range of energy services.
Value to Electric Cooperatives
Energy storage technologies can reduce an electric cooperative’s need to purchase peak power, and provide greater flexibility for how co-ops can integrate increasingly available renewable energy resources. Leveraging distributed “behind-the-meter” energy storage resources into a cohesive program can provide substantial energy storage benefits to co-ops, as well as benefits to co-op members, such as financial incentives, lower electric rates, and use of clean renewable energy. Current experiences with community storage approaches will provide valuable insights and lessons learned for the co-op community.
Engineering, Member Services, Customer Services, Key Accounts