The small community of Decorah, Iowa is facing an energy challenge - the single circuit serving the town is near capacity as more customers are adding their own energy using solar arrays. The town does not want to reduce the number of solar arrays - they want to continue the conversion to renewable energy sources. They also don't want to start an expensive capital upgrade to the system.
The solution? Build and install a 2.5 MW battery that will store excess energy to be released at times of peak demand. This idea is easier and less expensive and continues to encourage the conversion to solar power. However, the government couldn't do it alone. It formed a partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s State Energy Office, the U.S. Office of Electricity, Alliant Energy, Iowa State University and the Clean Energy States Alliance to bring it all together.
This story shows that power of the P3 model to solve significant community challenges. It also shows it can be done at all sorts of sizes, from very small (like Decorah, populating less than 8,000) to very large (like the New York examples I've shared the last few days).
“This battery project is a game-changer in Decorah,“ Terry Kouba, president of Alliant Energy Iowa, said. “We’re installing it on a circuit that’s near capacity for solar. Using batteries can add critical capacity and may save our customers money, because a battery costs a fraction of the total to upgrade our system.”