Groveland Township eyes Battery Energy Storage System business

By David Fleet
Groveland Twp. — A woodlot in Groveland Township could soon be home to one of the first battery storage facilities under consideration in Michigan.
Dallas-based Vesper Energy is considering a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in the township. A BESS is a type of energy storage system that uses batteries to store and distribute energy in the form of electricity at a later time.
Bob DePalma, township supervisor along with officials from the Michigan Township Association are currently considering language for an ordinance prior to approval.
“There’s more questions and the public will have an opportunity to express their concerns,” said Depalma. “There are grants available from EGLE for the project. This could be a revenue stream for the township.”
In addition to Groveland, Vesper is also considering similar sites in Van Buren and Otsego counties.
Ejay Fyke is the community affairs manager for Dallas-based Vesper Energy and said the BESS would provide grid operators on-demand power that can respond right away when needed.
“It’s just like a cell phone but supersize,” said Fyke, during an interview with The Citizen. “The self-contained unit, about the size of a shipping container, would have its own heating, ventilation and air conditioning along with fire suppression.”
By storing energy, extra power is saved during the day when families are at work and released when demand is greater such as the evening hours. Potentially, reducing or avoiding price spikes and supply shortfalls. Without a way to store power, electricity must be used the instant it’s generated.
Both Otsego and Van Buren counties also have sites under consideration.
There is some risk of thermal runaway, however, the batteries which are monitored 24/7 and can be disconnected from the grid, he said.
“The lithium batteries can be repurposed,” he said. “The facility will be isolated and in a wooded area.”
The township site would cover about 12-14 acres, trees would screen containers, he said.
“The facility would last about 40 years,” he said.  “The key is access to overhead transmission lines that are in Groveland Township.

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