Xcel Energy to boost renewables access with long-duration energy storage

Xcel Energy has received a grant of up to $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The award will partially fund two long duration energy storage systems in Minnesota and Colorado.

Each demonstration-scale system will be a 10 megawatt/1,000 megawatt-hour iron-air battery developed by Massachusetts-based Form Energy. The batteries will be located at the sites of two retiring Xcel Energy coal plants: the Sherburne County Generating Station in Becker, Minnesota, and the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo, Colorado. Once operational, the systems will allow Xcel Energy to store renewable energy such as solar and wind when it is being produced and then later distribute the energy during periods of lower renewable production.

“As we explore cutting-edge technologies to accelerate our journey toward 100% carbon-free electricity, we are committed to also keep our services affordable for our customers,” said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “The Department of Energy grant provides crucial financial support for projects that will provide reliable, low-cost renewable energy to the communities we serve.”

While most existing battery technologies serve fewer than eight hours of energy storage, Form Energy’s iron-air batteries deliver electricity for up to 100 hours. The long duration energy storage systems will strengthen the grid against day-to-day and week-to-week variability of renewable energy.

“As we build our clean energy future, reliable energy storage systems will play a key role in protecting communities by providing dependable sources of electricity when and where it’s needed most, particularly in the aftermath of extreme weather events or natural disasters,” said U.S Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, DOE is supporting game-changing energy storage projects across the nation, laying the foundation for the innovative solutions we need to ensure stronger, more resilient communities.”

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