PNM, a New Mexico utility, has planned to join with two educational partners and the Sandia National Laboratories in one of a growing number of renewable-energy storage and distribution projects getting under way across the country.

Federal and state governments and private companies have been budgeting millions of dollars to demonstrate cost-effective ways to store electricity generated by the sun or wind and dispatch it when needed.

The PNM project has received about $2m from the federal Department of Energy as part of the overall cost of about $6m, and the project calls for the installation of a large lead-acid battery system to store and dispatch energy generated by a 500kW solar photovoltaic array.

The Prosperity Energy Storage Project it is to be built near the master-planned community Mesa del Sol off Interstate 25, about 1.5m south of the Albuquerque International Sunport, the city’s primary public airport.

The utility-scale battery system, which will have a storage capacity of 2MWh to 4MWh of electricity, is to be used for power conditioning, voltage smoothing and peak shifting, according to a Department of Energy document.

The project calls for the utility to test the system’s ability to mitigate voltage fluctuations from solar or wind-generated energy.