Ameren says a solar-powered grid battery experiment is paying off in Illinois

Happy Wednesday! Today, the Energy News Network reports on an Illinois utility’s use of an innovative solar battery system to reduce outages in a “geographically challenging area.” Here are the highlights:

  • Ameren installed the lithium-ion battery system in 2017 in Thebes, Illinois, a town of roughly 330 people in the far southwestern corner of the state. The system cost about $1.4 million.

  • The area had been prone to lengthy blackouts because of its location, wedged between the Mississippi River and rugged hillsides. “Our reliability for these customers was not real good,” said Rod Hilburn, manager for Ameren’s Technology Applications Center.

  • The results: a dramatic reduction in both the number and duration of outages, the utility says. The company continues to modify and refine the system, and it expects storage to become more prevalent.

Read the rest of the story here. And now, a few more headlines...

🚰 WATER: A Kansas City water management startup is (virtually) joining a Hawaii-based accelerator program that comes with a $200,000 funding infusion, Startland News reports. Elemental Excelerator selected NEER among its final 19 cohort members from about 800 applicants in 60 countries.

♻️ RECYCLING: Case Western Reserve University researchers talk with ScienceNews for Students about their work developing a process for heating and reforming certain plastics into new products instead of burying them in landfills.

🔬 INNOVATION: The Innovation Hub at Illinois State University is seeking public input on a new name. A survey for name ideas that reflect how it serves the region is available online through tomorrow.

Tomorrow: I’ll share highlights from a conversation I had today with a University of Illinois researcher who is working on a method to make more efficient solar cells. Until then, thanks for reading!

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