CRESCO, Iowa – MiEnergy Cooperative is installing “smart battery storage systems” in the homes of its 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.”
The first battery was put in a Minnesota City home on October 15 and MiEnergy plans to install a second battery in a Winona residence before the start of November, with more batteries in Decorah and Ridgeway by the end of 2018.
The cooperative says the idea is to be able to switch a home from the electric grid to the battery system during peak energy periods, temporarily reducing the demand for power. The batteries could also provide electricity during power outages.
MiEnergy is the first of four cooperatives that have commissioned a battery storage system as part of a pilot program, which is sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The others are in Wisconsin and Illinois.
MiEnergy Cooperative maintains 5,500 miles of power lives covering most of Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties in Minnesota and Chickasaw, Howard and Winneshiek counties in Iowa. It has more than 18,700 members in northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota.