NRECA, DOE Launch Rural Battery Storage Research Projects

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today launched four rural battery storage projects in partnership with five electric cooperatives and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity.

The projects are being funded in part by DOE and will examine how energy storage systems can improve the resilience of critical infrastructure in rural areas. Two of the projects simultaneously will support military installations served by electric cooperatives and will help fulfill Department of Defense energy assurance goals. 

“This is a great example of how America’s electric co-ops and the more than 95 military facilities that they serve are evolving together,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “Meeting future energy needs requires a commitment to research and innovation. This new program will improve resilience while expanding our understanding of how battery technology can be used in new applications throughout rural America.”

“America relies on rural communities, and rural communities rely on electricity,” said Dr. Imre Gyuk, director of energy storage in DOE’s Office of Electricity. “By using storage, these projects will help to make the supply of electricity more resilient, greener, and sustainable, as well as more cost effective.”

NRECA’s partners on the battery storage projects include Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association in Colorado, West River Electric Association in South Dakota, and, in North Carolina, Sandhills Utility Services, Tideland EMC and North Carolina EMC.

The one-year project will develop four battery storage sites – two integrated directly into separate cooperative facilities and two integrated directly into military bases served by electric cooperatives.  Lessons learned and findings from the projects will be shared with electric cooperatives across the nation for potential implementation at other facilities.

DOE’s Office of Electricity will provide approximately $1.3 million in cost share funding to NRECA to offset the design, purchase, installation and commissioning of batteries at the four sites. Technical assistance will be provided by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.