Co-ops leverage Basin Electric’s rate to build grid-level battery storage

The following is an excerpt from an article featuring Basin Electric’s Class A members Corn Belt Power Cooperative and Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO). 

Corn Belt Power Cooperative in Humboldt, Iowa, installed a 1.425-megawatt Tesla® Megapack at its Hampton Substation under Basin Electric's trial battery rate. (Photo courtesy: Corn Belt Power Cooperative & NRECA)

As more electric cooperatives pursue energy storage, a generation and transmission co-op is offering a trial battery rate to help members deliver peak savings and learn more about the technology. 

Bismarck, North Dakota-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative, which supplies electricity to 131 co-ops in nine states, incorporated a member-owned trial battery rate into its rate schedule in 2020. The special rate allows Basin Electric’s all-requirements contract members to try out energy storage technology to reduce peak demand costs.

“The rate gives our members the ability to own and operate batteries, up to a certain size limit, and share their monthly data with us, which then allows Basin Electric to gain a better understanding on how the batteries are performing for load management,” said Elizabeth Erhardt, Basin Electric’s rate and load analyst.

The rate provision allows up to 150 kilowatts of battery storage per distribution co-op and lets participants decide when to charge and discharge their batteries, which must be located with their service territory and below Basin Electric’s point of delivery. 

Two members of Basin Electric are taking advantage of the incentive so far.

Corn Belt Power Cooperative recently installed a 1.425-megawatt Tesla® Megapack at its Hampton substation under the plan. The G&T pooled its 10 member co-ops’ individual allocations to qualify for the large system under the battery rate. 

NIPCO combined allocations from its six member co-ops to deploy a 975-kilowatt battery system at its Lawton Substation in 2021. The Le Mars, Iowa-based G&T has discharged its battery about 74 times over the past 14 months to help shave peak demand costs.

“The project is a testimony to one of the seven cooperative principles at work: cooperation among cooperatives,” said Matt Washburn, NIPCO executive vice president and general manager. 

Read the full article: Co-ops leverage Basin Electric’s rate to build grid-level battery storage

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