A small step for Wisconsin, a giant leap for energy resiliency.
In what many are calling a first for the state, construction of a community-scale microgrid has been completed in the village of Boaz. Utility provider Alliant Energy developed the $3 million project comprised of battery storage system in Richland County.
The Boaz microgrid, announced two years ago, can be islanded (disconnected from the main grid) and can provide adequate electrical power for up to eight hours in the event of an outage. The community has less than 200 residents and one main distribution line.
Although Alliant Energy developed the microgrid, the energy firm let a local resident speak for the need in the community.
“We've been impacted by severe storms and power outages, affecting everything from the lights in our homes to our public works and utility services,” said Jean Nicks, Boaz village president, quoted by Alliant in its announcement. “This new microgrid system supports our community and means we won’t have to worry constantly about outages that previously disabled equipment like our pumps for hours or days on end. In addition to the added peace of mind, this microgrid will deliver great savings for our village.”
The battery storage includes a 400 kW/3200 kWh Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery and initially will be energized by the main Alliant grid. In the future, solar power capacity could be added. The company called this Boaz project a "reliability" microgrid.
“The completion of this microgrid battery system is a major step forward as we leverage new technology to improve energy reliability and grid resilience,” said Mike Bremel, director of Engineering and Customer Solutions at Alliant Energy, in a statement. “This infrastructure upgrade allows us to expand our operational experience and apply new insights to future development opportunities.”
In 2020, Alliant constructed a remote microgrid at a Wisconsin state park in the Black Hawk recreation area. Alliant Energy also is working on several pilot projects centered around battery energy storage in Iowa and Wisconsin.
Boaz, founded in the 19th century, has rarely seen its population vary outside a range of 100 to 180 people, It is known for the "Boaz Mastodon" skeleton which was discovered by four young farm boys in 1897 and now is on feature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Geology Museum.
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