Chicago Suburb Selected for Community Energy Storage Pilot

In the Chicago suburb of Beecher, Illinois, Commonwealth Edison has launched a Community Energy Storage (CES) pilot to investigate the value of battery technology to reduce the impact of power outages in residential areas where customers experience service interruptions, particularly during extreme weather events.

Announced by utility on March 16, the initiative has deployed the PureWave Community Energy Storage system from Chicago-based S&C Electric. Featuring a 25kWh lithium-ion battery, the CES unit has been 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 – offering sufficient 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, Com Ed said. 

Calling itself “one of the first utilities in the nation to install CES,” ComEd said the company also “would 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, SVP of Technical Services for ComEd. 

Blaise said that additional CES pilots are planned for the ComEd service territory in northern Illinois, where the utility has 3.9 customers.

ComEd also is exploring the potential of energy storage to support the integration of renewable energy sources, the utility, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon, said. The company received a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy in January to develop and test a system that integrates solar and battery storage with a microgrid.  

The Village of Beecher has made no comment to date.

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