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Xcel Energy has released preliminary results from its wind-to-battery storage project in Minnesota. Integrating variable wind and solar power production with the needs of the power grid is an ongoing issue for the utility industry. In October 2008, Xcel Energy began testing a 1MW battery storage technology to demonstrate its ability to store wind energy and move it to the electricity grid when needed.

The preliminary test results indicate that the battery has the ability to:
·    effectively shift wind energy from off-peak to on-peak availability
·    reduce the need to compensate for the variability and limited predictability of wind generation resources
·    support the transmission grid system by providing voltage support, which contributes to system reliability
·    support regional electricity markets by responding to real-time imbalances between generation and load.

Testing will continue to determine the technology’s ability to facilitate integration of larger penetrations of wind energy on the grid. Phase II of the study will also assess the potential value of the various battery system functions and determine the potential cost-effectiveness of the technology. A final report is expected in summer 2011.
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