City Utilities adds battery energy storage system

Springfield City Utilities continues to find ways to help use renewable resources for power.

On Thursday they unveiled the Cox Battery Energy Storage System. It consists of two trailers which houses 1,140 12 volt batteries.

The research project began in late spring as a partnership between City Utilities and Northstar Battery. The system is now up and running powered by the Northstar Ace Blue Plus Battery.

"The large battery consists of 76 of these 12 volt blocks in 15 parallel strings. Each Parallel string is 1,000 volts and the 15 parallel strings come together to inverter which then inverts the dc to ac power and to the grid level," said Frank Fleming, Senior Technology Adviser for Northstar Battery.

The system can run 1 mega watt per hour powering 200 households Plus, it can more than double its output when severe weather events knock out power.

"If you have a severe storm, or an ice storm that takes down some or part of the system you are without power until we can get that system restored and we can deliver that energy to you," said Scott Miller, general manager for Springfield City Utilities. "When you have stored energy right now, if you have an outage in this area there's an opportunity for us to continue to deliver power ."

The way it works is simple, energy from wind or solar plants is stored in this system. It's the first energy storage system of it's kind in the midwest and is a way to help reduce their carbon footprint.

"The adaptation of renewable whether it be solar, wind, etc. has got to be balanced with the ability to store the energy and use it when it's needed," Fleming said. "In my opinion energy storage is going to be common place like the substations that we see here today. We will see energy storage units everywhere even globally."

Springfield City Utilities introduced renewable resources in to their grid back in 1970 with hydro-power. Since then they've expanded to include wind and solar power. Now with the addition of battery storage system they're expecting reach a milestone of providing more than 35 percent of their energy from renewable resources by the end of the year.