Township to host meeting on Battery Energy Storage

By David Fleet
Groveland Twp. — At 5:30 p.m., June 3, Groveland Township-Fire Station One, 14645 Dixie Hwy., will host an informational meeting regarding a proposed battery storage facility.
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. 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.
The township has been considered for a BESS due to the location of the ITC high-voltage transmission lines over the proposed site and covers the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. In addition to the township, Otsego and Van Buren counties also have sites under consideration.
Prior to the construction of an energy facility, the township will implement an ordinance to safely regulate its operation. Last fall state lawmaker OK’d Public Act 233, which goes into effect Nov. 29, shifts the authority from local to the Michigan Public Service Commission for massive wind, solar, and energy storage facilities in some cases.
“If we (Groveland Township) don’t introduce any legislation to cover the (battery, solar or wind power) systems, we are going to be stuck with whatever EGLE (Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) decides the rules should be,” said Bob DePalma, Groveland Township supervisor.
Since that time, township officials have been consulting with the Michigan Township Association, EGLE and Michigan State University that were hired to write the first ordinances.
“Several of the issues have been covered so far, however, there are two or three areas that we could go beyond in an ordinance what we have. However, we have to have our ordinance in place before EGLE does this fall.”
In addition, EGLE has started a grant program to encourage communities like Groveland and Brandon townships to take a look at the solar, wind or battery energy systems.
In 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s budget allowed for state funds to reward renewable energy adopters in the state and established the Renewables Ready Communities Award. As a result, EGLE will provide $5,000 per megawatt (MW) to permitters and expectant hosts of eligibility utility-scale renewable energy projects which underwent local permitting processes, with $2,500 per MW granted to each awardee in cases when host and permitter differ. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30, 2024.
The maximum funding amount for a single project is $3 million. The total funding available is up to $30 million awarded on a rolling basis.
The Vesper Energy project will produce 300 MW and if completed would provide $1.5 million for Groveland Township.

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