Ludington Pumped Storage Facility Ready to Alleviate High Energy Demands

Energy is a concern for everyone this summer, and the hot temperatures are just increasing demand. Michigan’s largest energy company isn’t worried, they have a backup battery ready to use, right in northern Michigan.

An increase in energy demand is only going to continue through the summer and people have been worried about potential brownouts across the state. Consumers Energy says they are confident that’s not going to happen and the reason they’re confident is right on the Lake Michigan shoreline.Download

“I think it’s one of the greatest assets we have for a generation strategy,” said Eric Gustad of Consumers Energy.

The Ludington Pumped Storage Facility sits right on the shore of Lake Michigan just south of Ludington, slowly generating power and waiting to be called on to ramp up production.

“The plant is used as a great battery storage plant,” said Gustad.

It’s like any other hydroelectric dam but instead of relying on the flow of a river to determine output, the water, or energy, is stored in a massive reservoir. At any moment, when the power grid is taxed, the flow can be ramped up and more power generated.

“As those loads creep up during the day, we can get those generation units up and running in less than 10 minutes,” said Gustad.

Then, late at night, when energy use and cost is low, they pump water back into the pond and wait to be called again.

It’s one of the largest of its kind in the world and the only one in Michigan. It will likely be the only one ever, given the perfect location right on Lake Michigan.

“The cost of today’s build would be challenging along with environmental, along with site location costs, along with getting another plant like that built,” said Gustad.