ComEd conducting community energy storage pilot in Illinois

ComEd launched a pilot project to test the use of battery energy storage technology to reduce the impact of power outages in residential areas where customers experience service interruptions, particularly in extreme weather events.

ComEd’s Community Energy Storage pilot is being conducted in Beecher, Ill., about 40 miles south of Chicago. The pilot will focus on improving power reliability for customers experiencing multiple interruptions.

One of the first utilities in the nation to install CES, ComEd will also evaluate the potential of this technology to serve as a proactive tool to drive continuous improvement in service reliability.

“Through grid modernization and smart grid investments, our reliability performance has been best on record for five years running, and we’re committed to continuous improvement,” said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president, Technical Services, ComEd. “We want all ComEd customers to experience great reliability and that’s why we’re innovating and piloting emerging technologies such as energy storage to bring new value to communities and help improve service for our customers. We’re excited about the potential that battery storage offers to minimize the impact of a power outage while we continue to make progress in preventing them.”

ComEd is using the PureWave Community Energy Storage system from Chicago-based S&C Electric Co. Featuring a 25kWh lithium-ion battery, the CES unit was installed near the existing ComEd equipment that provides power to the homes of Beecher customers selected for the pilot. In the event of a power outage, the energy storage system will automatically restore power and has enough capacity to supply power to a group of customers for the duration of most typical outages. The momentary power outage when the battery storage takes over is barely perceptible while crews take the precautions needed to ensure a safe and seamless return-to-normal.

Blaise said that additional CES pilots are planned for the ComEd service territory. ComEd is also exploring the potential of energy storage to support the integration of renewable energy sources. The company received a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy to develop and test a system that integrates solar and battery storage with a microgrid, which is a small energy grid that can power a local, defined area in times of emergency.

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