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How to make renewable energy work for your city (and make money doing it)

Submitted by doug.peeples on May 11, 2016

If you would relish the opportunity to provide a sustainable, reliable energy supply for your community and save a lot of money on electric grid upgrades at the same time (and save more money in other ways, too), you'll probably want to learn how one small Ohio town did it -- and why its strategy is so financially  attractive. Village of Minster city officials worked with renewable energy company Half Moon Ventures and Council Lead Partner S&C Electric and earlier this month completed a project that integrates energy storage with an existing solar power plant.

Project details and how new revenue streams will help offset costs are explained in the news release below. The takeaway is it's a smart example of how cities can help ensure a sustainable energy future for their citizens while adding new revenue sources and cutting down on expensive peak demand charges. And one more thing: while it's not mentioned in the story, energy storage systems also can provide backup power in emergencies -- Doug Peeples


S&C Completes One of the Largest Energy Storage Systems in Ohio

7 MW facility to provide four unique revenue streams for local municipal utility

CHICAGO, May 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- S&C Electric Company, a global leader in energy storage integration, has completed one of the largest energy storage systems in Ohio. The 7-MW system located in Minster, Ohio, was built in conjunction with Half Moon Ventures (HMV) and the local municipal utility, the Village of Minster. A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held on site at the Minster Solar + Storage Facility, May 6 at 1 p.m. EDT, to officially present this project to the residents of Minster.

"This is a milestone day for our community as we mark the first time a municipal utility has combined solar power and energy storage," said Don Harrod, Village Administrator, Village of Minster. "The official launch of this system assures that the Village of Minster can continue to provide affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity for our residents and businesses."

HMV and the Village of Minster will benefit from four unique revenue streams, which will offset the costs of grid improvements while improving the rate of return. HMV will be able to sell into PJM's frequency regulation market, which helps to provide grid reliability for more than 60 million customers. The Village of Minster will use the energy storage system to defer $350,000 of T&D costs, improve power quality and shave peak demand.

"Working with the Village of Minster, we have proven a very unique business model that will allow us to bring more solar and energy storage to public utilities," said Michael Hastings, CEO, HMV. "This revenue stacking approach assures that projects are viable and valuable for both parties."

HMV is using S&C's 7-MW PureWave® SMS Storage Management System, providing fully integrated storage management and power conversion for 3-MWh of lithium ion-batteries. The system is tied to HMV's adjacent 4.2-MW solar plant, allowing Minster to further reduce their peak demand charges in the middle of the day. This solar + storage system is the largest U.S. facility of its kind connected through a municipal utility.

S&C served as energy storage system integrator for HMV by performing all major power system studies and complete engineering, procurements, and construction of the project. The complexities of this delivery have been documented in a time-lapse video brief of the Minster facility. S&C will also be providing ongoing operation and maintenance services for the facility.

"Energy storage systems are so much more complex than the chemistry of batteries. If just one piece doesn't work in concert with the rest of the system, the impacts to owner's return on investment are huge," said Mike Edmonds, President – U.S. Business, S&C Electric Company. "It's essential for success, to have an integrator – who is able to implement the power electronics, controls and high voltage into a successful solution. HMV chose S&C for this project because of our expertise. We were able to move from contract to successful grid trading quickly, due to our integrated solution."