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A clean energy leader, University of Minnesota Morris now wants to be an innovator in storing it

Wind turbines
Two wind turbines at the University of Minnesota-Morris produce between 60 and 70 percent of the electricity used on campus.
Conrad Wilson for MPR News

The University of Minnesota Morris and Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, or WCROC, have long embraced their windy, rural locale to advance wind and other clean energy technology. Now, they’ve set their sights on improving how that energy is stored.

Earlier this month, they launched the Center for Renewable Energy Storage Technology, or CREST.

“The cost of electricity from wind and solar is declining in price dramatically, but that does come with some challenges: the wind doesn’t always blow, and then with solar, obviously at the end of the day we need some other sources of power,” said Michael Reese, renewable energy director for WCROC. “So if we’re working toward a 100 percent renewable energy system, we need to provide storage to account for that gap.”

Reese told Climate Cast host Paul Huttner that the center will look beyond the kinds of batteries many consumers are familiar with, even exploring a process typically used to produce fertilizer in Minnesota.

To hear more about this, click play on the audio player above or subscribe to the Climate Cast podcast.

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