Pitkin County tests the expansion of REMP to include battery energy storage
January 26, 2022 – Aspen, Colorado – As the role of batteries for energy storage increases to fill the gaps in fluctuation in renewable energy resources, organizations such as Aspen Skiing Company (Skico) are working with Holy Cross Energy (HCE) to test the use of batteries as part of Pitkin County’s Renewable Energy Mitigation Plan (REMP).
Under REMP, homeowners and businesses in Pitkin County who choose to install outdoor energy systems (such as snowmelt systems) have the option to either install a renewable energy system on-site or choose a mitigation payment option. In the past, options have included installing solar panels, solar water heating, or geothermal heat pump systems.
As these systems produce more energy than the grid can use, it becomes beneficial to add storage options to these systems to capture this additional energy. Energy generated during the daytime can be stored and discharged when there is a higher demand during evening hours. In 2020, Pitkin County began requiring as much as 25% of renewable generation to be coupled to battery storage.
Aspen’s Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) is the administrator for the REMP Program.
“When REMP was created, we were trying to get people to pay attention to carbon reduction measures. Today the conversation is about electrification in ways that provide multiple benefits to the consumer, the utility providers, and the climate,” said Marty Treadway, Program Director at CORE.
Skico recently gained approval from the County to offset the energy used in their snowmelt system at the Sundeck Restaurant on Aspen Mountain by installing batteries at their employee housing units at the Aspen Airport Business Center. The original project had the batteries located at the Sundeck, but Skico employee housing was selected as the most appropriate location for various reasons.
“We are excited and grateful to be part of yet another pioneering partnership with Holy Cross Energy and Pitkin County,” said John Perko, Skico Project Manager. “This is the first use of battery storage in the ski industry, and it’s the first time the REMP program has enabled energy storage. Getting to 100% regional clean energy requires storage to balance renewable energy loads. This is a small but essential example of how you get there.”
The project is mutually beneficial to Skico and Holy Cross Energy. HCE will use the batteries to store renewable energy from the grid when there is excess and help optimize power supply costs. The increased battery storage is beneficial to HCE as they move towards their 100×30 goal, providing their members with 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2030.
“HCE is delighted to be working in partnership with our members SkiCo and Pitkin County to deploy battery storage in a way that benefits both SkiCo and all HCE members,” said Bryan Hannegan, HCE’s President and CEO. “The resulting grid flexibility from these batteries will help HCE more cost-effectively achieve our “Journey to 100%” goal of providing 100% clean energy to our members by 2030.”
The batteries themselves are part of HCE’s Power+ program, allowing residents and businesses the option to install a battery energy storage system and have the cost spread out on their electric bill. Utilizing Tesla’s Powerwall 2 battery energy storage system, HCE members can store energy directly from the grid or energy generated from on-site solar.
“Pitkin County’s land-use code revisions, which include battery storage, and HCE’s Power+ program are two important steps in enabling households to be more resilient and independent in the event of a power outage. Battery storage contributes to our community’s climate action goals by dispensing renewables into the grid when power is most needed. Batteries also lessen the need for expanded infrastructure to rural areas,” said Cindy Houben, Director of Community Development for Pitkin County.
“It is wonderful that Holy Cross Energy is so engaged and ready to support climate action initiatives.”
Founded in 1939, Holy Cross Energy is a not-for-profit rural electric cooperative that provides safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy and services that improve the quality of life for more than 45,000 members and their communities in Western Colorado. Committed to leading the responsible transition to a clean energy future, HCE was named the 2020 Electric Cooperative of the Year by the Smart Electric Power Alliance for their work in clean energy. For more information on HCE, please visit www.holycross.com.