Minnesotan 100-hour battery storage pilot project approved by public utilities commission

Published on July 11, 2023 by Liz Carey

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On Friday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission announced their approval of a 10MW/1,000Mwh battery storage pilot project at Xcel Energy’s Sherco facility in Becker, Minn.

The project will feature iron-air storage technology from Form Energy that operates as a 100-hour, multiday battery and can operate at temperatures from -40 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Transmission-connected near the new Sherco solar project, the storage facility will allow Xcel to study higher renewable usage during periods of low generation, as well as reduce carbon emissions. The project will also study controlling frequency or voltage, mitigating transmission congestion, reducing existing renewable energy generator curtailment and reducing peak power costs.

“As we move towards decarbonization, the development of long-duration energy storage is essential,” said Commission member Valerie Means. “The Commission expects to see more of these projects that hopefully get us to an integrated storage plan that ensures we have the right amount of storage to manage the grid.”

The project is supported by several organizations, the commission said, many of whom support the facilities use of iron technology instead of rare earth minerals, as well as the longer duration of the battery life than from lithium-ion batteries, and the economic boost the project will give the Becker community from union jobs and $9 million in local tax revenue.

Construction on the project is expected to being in mid-2024, with the project completed and operational sometime in 2025.