Irrigation farmers store wind power with batteries

MODESTO, CALIFORNIA - The Modesto, California Irrigation District (MID) will use batteries to store wind energy for pumping water to crops.

The Department of Energy (DOE)-funded project will allow the district to store up to 25 megawatts of wind power for use during times of peak demand, rather than just when the wind blows.

According to the Modesto Bee, the batteries will be installed and ready to use during the next growing season. Melissa Williams, MID spokesperson, said, "Our role is to test this technology in real-world conditions.

With cost-effective technology for storing industrial-size amounts of energy, we could more widely use renewable power."

Twenty-five megawatts represents only a small portion of total peak electricity demand — which can top 600 megawatts on a summer day — needed for local crop production, but it will displace at least some of the power now being generated from natural gas.

Tom Stepien of Primus Power Corp., manufacturers of the batteries, said, "This will allow MID to run their equipment in a cost-effective, uniform and less polluting manner."

The battery storage test is part of DOE's $620 million smart grid demonstration and energy storage projects. Primus and MID will also contribute funding.


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