Emerging Trend: Battery Storage

This electric co-op battery storage project north of Denver will enhance the performance and reliability of the local co-op’s system.

Electric co-ops are leading the way again, as United Power, one of the larger electric cooperatives in Colorado, unveiled its new, lithium-ion battery storage facility in late December.

This installation just off Interstate 25 north of Denver in Frederick includes 4 megawatts of Tesla lithium-ion battery packs. These can store and deliver up to 16 megawatt-hours of power support for United Power’s system. That is enough electricity to supply 600-700 homes or about 200,000 customers and their communities.

The community battery facility is touted as the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in Colorado. It is also one of the largest battery systems owned and operated by an electric co-op anywhere in the country.

The new facility will give United Power more flexibility to meet the demand for electricity when that requirement is at its highest without having to purchase additional electricity from its power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. The batteries discharge electricity when it is needed and then recharge with power from the grid during off-peak hours.

This move to energy storage is the next step for United Power as it works to incorporate more renewable generation into its system. Storage capacity allows energy to be shifted from one period to another and allows a more efficient operation of the co-op’s distribution grid as more localized distributive generation, such as solar panels, become part of the system.

“As one of the fastest growing co-ops in Colorado, United Power wants to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to integrating new technology that can help boost reliability and keep costs down,” said CEO John Parker. “Energy storage will play an important role in the grid of the future and we’re excited to be starting now.”