Jackson’s Consumers Energy Starts Operation of Large-scale Battery at Kalamazoo’s Western Michigan University

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Consumers Energy in Jackson Monday announced it has installed a new large-scale battery on Kalamazoo-based Western Michigan University’s campus. The battery is expected to store enough energy to power 1,000 homes at any time.

“Advances in battery storage technology have now reached the scale that they power entire communities on demand,” says Tim Sparks, vice president of electric grid integration at Consumers Energy. “Our Clean Energy Plan calls for more solar and wind electric generation facilities that will depend on battery storage to be dependable sources of energy for our customers for when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun shining. The Parkview Battery Project begins the next groundbreaking chapter in the story about how clean and reliable energy reaches Consumers Energy customers.”

The Parkview battery site was selected through a statewide search in consultation with Michigan State University. Over the next year, Consumers Energy and MSU consultants will study data generated at the new battery facility to better the potential for battery storage use around the state. Western Michigan University engineering students will also have opportunities to work on electric battery research and operations.

The 1-megawatt battery’s output is about the amount of electricity used by about 1,000 residential electric customers in an hour. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 867 megawatts of utility-scale battery capacity exists in the U.S. based on technology similar to the Parkview battery. Large-scale batteries can support wind and solar-plant electric production when declining winds and clouds reduce their output for short periods of time.

“The foundation of all we do at Consumers Energy focuses on our triple bottom line: people, the planet, and Michigan’s prosperity. We are excited to launch this project and see how it will provide future benefits for our customers as we continue to develop responsible and environmentally friendly electric generation and storage facilities,” says Sparks.

Consumers Energy provides natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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