NRCO selected by U.S. Department of Energy for Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations Grant
For Immediate Release: September 22, 2023
Contact Scott Bradtmiller, NRCO (317) 344-7908
CARMEL, IN – Five rural communities from the Midwest to the east coast will see improved grid resilience and reliability because of a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO) announced today. The funds will help bring cutting-edge, long-duration energy storage to five electric cooperative-served communities. NRCO and its project partners will use the funding to bring five vanadium flow batteries (VFBs) capable of discharging 700 kW to 3.6MW of electricity for up to 20 hours to these geographically diverse rural communities. The grant is part of $350 million available from DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED).
“Long-duration energy storage is necessary for the clean energy transition and we are excited to partner with DOE to demonstrate the capabilities of VFBs in rural communities. Electric cooperatives are innovators, and the five sites our members have selected will help demonstrate to other utilities the many beneficial uses for long-duration energy storage,” said Mike Keyser, Chief Executive Officer of NRCO.
Long-duration energy storage (LDES) allows utilities to charge up when renewable energy is plentiful, and then discharge for an extended period in the evenings and overnight hours. LDES also provides reliability during extended outages, allowing crews to assess and address issues while minimizing impact to consumers. This capability is especially important in rural areas where most communities rely on electricity to power critical infrastructure such as water pumps, medical facilities and communication systems.
Aligning to the cooperative principle of concern for community, NRCO and its participating member cooperatives will leverage deep-rooted connections within the communities they serve to engage relevant stakeholders and uphold local values and priorities, while also providing citizens with a voice throughout the process.
“Electric cooperatives are an integral part of the communities they serve, and as not-for-profit organizations, their actions are rooted in doing what’s best for people and the community,” said Keyser. “This chapter of the story is about co-ops bringing innovation to rural America that provides new economic opportunities while also enhancing grid resilience and charting a path to a cleaner energy future.”
In addition to the benefits the project will bring to communities, this project will serve as a source of data for the DOE’s Rapid Operational Validation Initiative (ROVI). The technology provider, Invinity Energy Systems, is a global leader in the production of vanadium flow batteries with high efficiencies and long lifespans. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will carry out the techno-economic analyses and data collection for the project to inform decision-making and provide valuable insights into the potential benefits of VRFBs.
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Battery Project Sites:
1. Iowa: Meswaki Indian Settlement in Tama County – Served by Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO)
2. Iowa: Waterville in Allamakee County – Served by Wisconsin-based Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC)
3. Maryland: Smith Island and Virginia: Tangier Island – Served by Virginia-based Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC)
4. North Carolina: Hamlet Plant Power Station in Hamlet – Served by North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC)
5. South Carolina: Blair Hamlet in Fairfield County – Served by Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (CEPCI)
Formed in 2008, NRCO has 22 members across the United States that have a combined peak load of over 40 GW and serve more than 7.6 million homes and businesses. NRCO’s mission is to empower the clean energy transition for America’s electric cooperatives. NRCO’s innovative solutions assist members through the maze of new storage applications, new grid infrastructure projects, evolving federal and state policies, and emerging technologies toward a cleaner and more reliable grid. Visit nrco.coop to learn more.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) was established to accelerate clean energy technologies and fill a critical innovation gap on the path to achieving our nation’s climate goals of net zero emissions by 2050. OCED’s mission is to deliver clean energy demonstration projects at scale in partnership with the private sector to accelerate deployment, market adoption, and the equitable transition to a decarbonized energy system. Visit energy.gov/oced to learn more.
Invinity Energy Systems is a global leader in the production of vanadium flow batteries for long-duration energy storage applications. Its batteries have a liquid electrolyte, high efficiency, and long lifespan. The company has installed its batteries in various projects around the world, including Australia and California. As a leader in the vanadium flow battery industry, Invinity is working to advance the transition to a cleaner, more reliable energy system. Visit invinity.com for more information.