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Project team and Boaz, Wisconsin community members pose for a photo at a ribbon-cutting event for the Boaz microgrid project.

Keeping the lights on with batteries

Frequent and first-time flyers alike know to switch their phone to airplane mode, disconnecting from cellular signals. A key piece of my pre-flight checklist is to download songs so I can continue listening to music even when disconnected. Downloaded content remains accessible in airplane mode so you can use your favorite apps, draft emails, play today’s Wordle or watch movies inflight. A battery-powered microgrid works in a similar way.  

A microgrid is a small-scale power grid with islanding capability, a bit like airplane mode. The system can seamlessly disconnect from the traditional grid and operate independently in the event of a power outage or service disruption. When disconnected, microgrids continue to bring power to customers from a distributed generation source, such as battery, wind or solar. The benefit of this system is improved reliability and reduced service disruptions. 

Recently, in a first for Alliant Energy and the state of Wisconsin, we completed a community-scale microgrid system in the village of Boaz. This system uses a battery energy storage system to keep customers connected during temporary grid disruptions. It’s one of several advanced research pilot projects in our continued effort to expand access to energy storage solutions, provide reliable energy services and build stronger communities. 

“We've been impacted by severe storms and power outages, affecting everything from the lights in our homes to our public works and utility services,” said Jean Nicks, Boaz village president. “This new microgrid system supports our community and means we won’t have to worry constantly about outages that previously disabled equipment like our pumps for hours or days on end.” 

The completion of this cutting-edge microgrid system is a major step forward as we continue to use new technology and develop more customer-centered energy solutions. It's a key part of our Clean Energy Blueprint and our commitment to provide reliable energy in the communities we serve. 
Grant Barton is a Communications Partner with a passion for sustainability and eco-friendly city planning. He has a diverse background in engineering, politics and international communications and hopes to apply this experience when writing and breaking down complex topics related to Alliant Energy's Clean Energy Future plans.

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