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Ravalli Electric Cooperative receives federal grant for battery energy storage facility

The Co-op will use a $4.9 million federal grant to fund a battery energy storage facility
Ravalli Electric Cooperative Building
Posted at 4:36 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 10:55:13-04

VICTOR — Ravalli Electric Cooperative (REC) recently received a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund a battery energy storage facility.

Founded in 1936 and serving from Florence to Sula, REC is now a front-runner in sustainable energy thanks to the grant.

The battery energy storage facility is meant to store power largely from renewable sources — such as solar panels — and will allow for power delivery when the sun isn’t shining.

The facility itself will be expandable in a modular way in the future if needed, with one battery set only taking up the space of a small cellular tower building.

The total storage amount will be one megawatt, which is enough to power 800 homes for four hours.

Besides powering homes, the facility will provide power to emergency services in events when the usual power is out.

The technology is some of the first in the nation and with the project being fully funded by the federal grant, FEC is excited for the future.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to understand the technology of the future. And for the workforce of the Co-op to get familiar with that — and decide how it fits into their future as well," Vice President of Power Supply for Pacific Northwest Northwest Generating Cooperative Erin Erban explained.

The project is expected to break ground in roughly 2½ half years but FEC Communications Manager Melissa Greenwood noted that “things are subject to change and it is possible that it could be started sooner!”

Overall, the grant is an exciting moment for rural Montana as Ravalli Electric Cooperative is trailblazing the way and helping develop the model for how we switch to renewable energy in the future.