Energy Storage For The “Prairie State”

The current population of the “Prairie State,” Illinois is estimated to be 12.73 million. In January 2019, state utilities used nuclear (51.1%) coal (34.2%), renewable energy (8.5%) and natural gas (6.2%) to generate electricity. Onshore wind energy is the primary types of renewable energy in Illinois.

Concerns about climate change have prompted Illinois legislators to begin the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy. In 2007, the state legislature enacted the Illinois Power Agency Act which requires investor-owned electric utilities to produce 10% of retail electric sales from renewable energy by 2015 add 25% by 2025. In 2016, the Illinois State Legislature implemented financial incentive programs to increase investments in renewable energy resources like wind, solar and hydroelectric.

Intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar require storage systems in order to provide continuous reliable power. Illinois utilities are beginning to invest in energy storage systems in order to move from coal and natural gas to renewable energy. Commonwealth Edison Company CEO Joe Dominguez recently stated, that energy storage “is going to be absolutely a necessary component of the future.”

Commonwealth Edison has five pilot energy storage projects to evaluate the most cost-effective system. The pilot projects range from a small 25-kilowatt community energy storage system in Beecher, Illinois to a large 2-MW battery storage system in Zion, Illinois.

Commonwealth Edison is the largest electric utility in Illinois and is headquartered in Chicago. The company provides electrical services to 3.8 million customers in Illinois. Commonwealth Edison is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, a major energy company that is also headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Today, the cheapest sources of electricity in the U.S. are wind, solar and hydropower. Coal is over twice as expensive to generate electricity as wind, solar or hydropower. However, the continued growth intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar will require energy storage systems to deliver reliable, sustainable power.

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