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City Utilities and NorthStar Battery are splitting the cost of a $1 million electricity storage system at a southwest Springfield substation.Photo provided by CITY UTILITIES
City Utilities and NorthStar Battery are splitting the cost of a $1 million electricity storage system at a southwest Springfield substation.

Photo provided by CITY UTILITIES

City Utilities pens deal with NorthStar Battery

Posted online
City Utilities and NorthStar Battery have entered a joint agreement to build a battery-powered electricity storage system in southwest Springfield.

The companies are planning a September installation of 1,100 batteries — each about twice the size of an average car battery — at CU’s substation on Cox Road just south of Republic Road. Officials say the energy storage system would supplement other renewables operated by CU and help meet demand during peak usage times. The system would be located in a small building on the property.

“It works in concert with the renewables that are in place,” said Jay Lohrbach, CU’s manager of generation projects, noting the system would “make up for those times when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.”

CU and NorthStar will split the cost of the roughly $1 million system, said NorthStar senior adviser Frank Fleming.

For NorthStar, the venture represents a new opportunity as the company’s principal market, telecommunications, has become saturated.

“NorthStar is looking at open market opportunities. Probably the biggest is the storage of energy,” Fleming said. “We believe NorthStar has battery technology that is very capable of meeting those energy storage requirements.”

Lohrbach said the system’s footprint would be less than an acre, much smaller than the substation it will sit next to. Officials estimate it would be able to power 800 homes for an hour, or 100 homes for up to 8 hours.

The energy storage system market is estimated to grow to $200 billion-$400 billion by 2040, according to data provided by the companies.

Stockholm, Sweden-based NorthStar, which operates its North American headquarters in Springfield, in September announced a $500 million, seven-year agreement with Daimler Trucks North America.

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