CRESCO, IA/RUSHFORD, MN, October 23, 2018 — MiEnergy Cooperative recently launched an innovative pilot project to test the benefits of battery storage. As part of the pilot, four 16 kilowatt-hour smart battery storage systems are being installed at homes of co-op members.
“We want to gain a better understanding of battery technology on a small scale, like a residential home,” said Brian Krambeer, MiEnergy’s president/CEO. “We will be testing the batteries for use as a tool for energy management. It’s an opportunity to see how it could benefit our members.”
Being able to seamlessly switch a home’s electric source from the grid to a battery and back could help the cooperative manage electricity during peak energy periods. As an added benefit, the battery could provide backup power during power outages.
The first battery was commissioned on October 15 at a home in Minnesota City, Minn. MiEnergy will install a second battery at a residence in Winona, Minn., by the end of the month and two others in Decorah and Ridgeway, Iowa, by year’s end.
MiEnergy is the first of four cooperatives that have commissioned a battery storage system as part of the pilot, which is sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The other electric cooperatives participating include Richland Electric Cooperative, of Richland Center, Wis., Oakdale Electric Cooperative, of Oakdale, Wis., and Jo-Carroll Energy, of Elizabeth, Ill. All four electric distribution cooperatives are served by Dairyland Power Cooperative, of La Crosse, Wis.
MiEnergy Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative and is the result of a merger between Hawkeye REC, of Cresco, Iowa, and Tri-County Electric Cooperative, of Rushford, Minn., in 2017. It maintains 5,500 miles of power lines covering most of Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties in Minnesota and Chickasaw, Howard and Winneshiek counties in Iowa. The cooperative also serves small pockets bordering those counties. It provides electricity to more than 18,700 members in northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota. MiEnergy is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.