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Tesla Could Revolutionize Electric Grid Operations

By Jeff Todd

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- A new power facility is nearing completion in Weld County and could revolutionize how the electric grid operates.

"We need to start to develop storage for renewable energy and this is really the first step in doing that stuff," said Jerry Marizza the New Business Director for United Power.

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A total of 80 tall white stacks of batteries from Tesla are being wired to establish a four-megawatt storage facility. It could power about 700 homes for four hours but the co-op that serves communities from Brighton to Mead is looking to use the facility only during peak usage.

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"This is basically going to save our members and United Power about $1 million a year to operate on battery, that's a good thing," Marizza said.

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Several companies provide commercial scale battery storage but United said it was an easy choice to partner with Tesla.

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"I feel they're kind of battle tested. They've been operating cars and doing things with batteries for a long time. There's a bit of a known quantity to the Tesla battery," Marizza said.

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The price of electricity fluctuates throughout the day and during peak usage, the price is the highest.

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United Power can now use the battery power instead of buying more power and the cost savings is passed on to its members. The batteries can be recharged with renewable energy.

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"Everybody is watching, there will be a lot of eyeballs on this project and see how successful we are with it and I'm sure it will spur some other activity in this state," Marizza said.

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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