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Bill would require state's two largest utilities to add 2,500 MW of energy storage

NEC Energy Solutions
Energy storage systems typically rely on massive batteries like these

A new bill (HB 4256) would require the state's two largest utilities to add 2,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2030.

That would be enough energy to replace several fossil fuel power plants.

Laura Sherman is President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, which advocated for the bill. She said energy storage systems — including large, grid-scale batteries — work as a bridge for renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

"It's for when the wind's not blowing, and the sun's not shining," Sherman said. "It's also for when we have too much wind and too much sun shining, but we know later on we're going to need it."

Sherman said the mandated storage could also take the place of natural gas "peaker plants," which utilities tend to turn on during hot days when electricity demand is high.

"Well if you've got that energy stored, energy storage can turn on just as fast and it's a lot cleaner," she said.

The bill requires the utilities to source half of the mandated energy storage from independent contractors. Sherman said that would likely save consumers money, since independent energy firms are often able to build plants for less money than regulated utilities.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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