Commonwealth Edison, a utility operated by Exelon, is testing a battery energy storage system (BESS) system that improves grid resiliency by limiting the impact of power outages for ratepayers in its northern Illinois service territory.
The utility BESS system’s first deployments are for residents in the towns of Streator, Lostant and Milledgeville, Illinois, areas which have experienced outages in recent years.
ComEd’s pilot BESS project is focused on determining whether localized storage solutions can improve reliability and resiliency in northern Illinois to limit the duration and frequency of power outages, including in remote townships with difficult access to grid resources.
“Hyper-localized solutions like this BESS demonstration are another key tool to ensure outstanding reliability and resiliency, even as the grid is challenged in new ways by more severe weather associated with climate change, while preparing for the growth of renewable energy, and the electrification of transportation, buildings and industry,” said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president of technical services at ComEd.
The utility energy storage project is using 28 kWh batteries from Sunverge Energy, and 200 kWh and 350 kWh batteries from Mesa Technical Associates, which collectively will support 23 customers in the initial test phase. The systems will provide eight hours of back-up power use while the utility restores power during a power outage.
Since 2011 the Midwest utility has made smart grid improvements into its service territory, effectuating $3 billion in savings to avoid more than 19 million outages. ComEd smart grid incentives includes smart electric switches, reliability improvements, lightning protection, mainline and neighborhood underground cable improvements as well as storm improvements and tree trimming.
With 4.1 million customers, ComEd is the largest subsidiary of Exelon, a $39.5 billion market capitalization utility company that operates six electric and gas utilities in five states with 10.4 million total customers.
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