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Michigan's first Energy Storage Roadmap unveiled

Ludington Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant
Consumers Energy
Ludington Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant has a capacity of nearly 1,900 megawatts of stored electricity. Michigan will need much more, according to new stored energy roadmap.

Michigan has its first energy storage roadmap.

Energy storage technologies can hold onto excess electricity for when it's most needed. The technologies include large-scale batteries, compressed-air energy storage, and hydroelectric storage, such as that provided by the Ludington Pumped Storage facility.

Laura Sherman is President of the Institute for Energy Innovation. The Institute was commissioned by the state to develop the roadmap.

She says increasing energy storage will help maintain the reliability of electricity in Michigan, especially as the state adds more intermittent sources of electricity like solar.

Sherman says there are many other benefits, including providing short-term electricity during emergencies.

"Making sure we have reliable power has been really heightened lately," Sherman said. "We've seen over the last year some really terrible storms, some really terrible outages."

The roadmap says Michigan will need 2,500 megawatts of stored electricity by the year 2030 and 4,000 megawatts by 2040. That's the equivalent of several power plants that can run for about four hours.

Sherman said energy storage will likely lower the overall cost of electricity, rather than increase it, because excess energy can be stored rather than wasted.

She said the next step for the roadmap is to see how it can be made a permanent part of the state's energy plan, either by having the governor issue an order to adopt it, the state Legislature pass bills to fix it in state law, or the Michigan Public Service Commission require utility long-term energy plans to increase storage to meet the targets.

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