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Duke Energy, State Fund Research For Clean Energy Storage

Duke Energy and the State of Indiana are partnering with an energy research institute to advance wind and solar power storage technology in the state.

An arrangement between Duke, Indiana's Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and Southern Indiana's Battery Innovation Center will result in a $1 million investment towards energy research and development.

The BIC will build five microgrids – all the hardware and software required for the offsite generation, storage and management of solar and wind power.

The backup power is stored in lithium batteries. At the scale BIC is working, it will likely best suit companies and schools, primarily to be used in case of emergency.

President of BIC David Roberts says the microgrid system gives energy a longer shelf life, and leads to less wasted power.

"Lithium technology doesn't have what's called a self-discharge, or certainly not as high of a self-discharge characteristic," Roberts says. "So the energy could be theoretically stored for a very extended amount of time."

Roberts says the same system could work in a residential setting, but it would have to be at a smaller scale.

Testing is scheduled to begin this fall, and Roberts says they're currently searching for two schools interested in signing up.

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