Cambridge Springs, PA; - Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative Association is joining the Community Storage Initiative, a national effort to solve the challenge of energy storage with technologies and resources that are already available.
For decades the electricity industry has been researching energy storage technologies, such as utility-scale batteries, that can stockpile electricity for later use. As the industry develops more renewable energy resources, which are intermittent, the need for energy storage is becoming more pressing.
Community storage refers to utility-sponsored programs that coordinate electric storage resources available throughout the community, such as water heaters and electric vehicles. Many utilities already offer consumers incentives to lower their usage during times of high demand; community storage enhances and builds on those programs. Currently over half of Northwestern REC’s members participate in one of the community storage (load management) programs available to its members. This alone saves an average of one million dollars in avoided energy costs each year for its cooperative membership.
Community storage enables consumers and utilities to share the system-wide benefits of energy storage – environmental benefits, lower costs and grid optimization – in communities large and small across the country. Such programs maximize the value of distributed energy resources, many of which are already available to participate in energy storage programs through simple retrofits and program design.
“The electricity industry is undergoing a rapid transformation,” said Mary Grill, Northwestern REC President & CEO. “By looking at resources available now and using them in a new way, we can find affordable solutions to some of our biggest challenges.”
The Initiative’s supporters include a wide array of energy, environmental and business interests. The Initiative members are already implementing community storage programs, and will be working together to develop and enhance those programs to fit changing energy needs.
Northwestern REC has been identified by Touchstone Energy Best Practices as the leading cooperative in the Nation on member engagement. Northwestern REC is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative providing service to over 20,000 members in Crawford, Erie, Warren, Venango, and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania and Ashtabula County, Ohio. To view a video about Northwestern REC, visit NorthwesternREC.com and click on the spotlight link or YouTube icon.