Largest Building Battery in Illinois to Service Chicago Utility Grid

June 7, 2016

Shedd Advances Clean Energy in Illinois with Installation of 1-Megawatt Lithium Ion Battery

CHICAGO – Shedd Aquarium continues to lead the way in energy efficiency with the installation of a one-megawatt lithium ion battery at the aquarium – the largest building battery installation in the state of Illinois and the first of its kind to be installed at a zoo or aquarium in the nation. Funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and installed by Schneider Electric, the battery brings Shedd Aquarium one step closer to being the nation’s first clean-energy-powered cultural institution in the nation.

“Of the clean-energy technologies we’ve installed here at the aquarium, the installation of the one-megawatt battery is the largest project Shedd has undertaken to advance our clean-energy technologies,” said Bob Wengel, Vice President of Facilities at Shedd Aquarium. “It is an example of our dedication to reducing our environmental footprint and leading the way through innovation and continuous improvement to preserve earth’s natural resources for future generations.”   

In its pilot phase, the 60 thousand pound, $2 million battery and adjoining equipment – transformer and inverter skid – are connected to Shedd’s electrical distribution system, and will provide frequency regulation services, peak-load demand and the need for emergency back-up power. The systems are located on Shedd Aquarium’s loading dock, and will be viewable to passers-by and aquarium visitors from inside the South Abbott Oceanarium window.

“As conservationists, we look for every opportunity to educate the people of Chicago and beyond about the sustainable actions they can take at home that collectively make a big difference,” said Wengel. “As technologies advance and present themselves in your everyday home, we look forward to seeing Illinois make large leaps toward reduced carbon emissions and dependency on non-renewable energy sources.”

Wengel added, after the installation of the battery, Shedd looks to install more energy efficient technologies around the building, including more LED lighting, LED lighting controls and more extensive solar panel arrays. These technologies would be in addition to the 2013 installment of 913 photovoltaic solar panels that sit atop Shedd’s Abbott Oceanarium, the 1,000 light fixtures now equipped with LED lighting and the extensive Building Analytics system that tells Shedd how systems are performing to help make corrections for maximized efficiency.

Sustainability is one of Shedd Aquarium’s core values, as our energy-use decisions have a direct impact on aquatic life around the world. By becoming an energy innovator, the aquarium can live its mission, inspiring people to make smart energy choices that protect the environment we share.

The energy-efficient battery is part of Shedd’s Master Energy Roadmap – an ambitious energy initiative aiming to cut the aquarium’s energy consumption in half by 2020, transforming the aquarium into the nation’s first clean-energy-powered cultural institution. Although its current goal is to generate revenue, Shedd will explore other uses for the technology to advance energy savings.

NOTE: High resolution images and video are available for download:
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez.

Shedd Aquarium is supported by the people of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the Chicago Park District. Shedd Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

About the Partners
John G. Shedd Aquarium, the World’s Aquarium and global leader in aquatic science and conservation, is one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums. The facility houses more than 32,000 aquatic animals, representing some 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and aquatic mammals from waters around the world.  Since its opening in 1930, the aquarium’s mission has been to enhance public understanding of aquatic life and connect guests to the living world, inspiring them to protect and preserve the planet. Shedd Aquarium is a proud member of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition.

As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructure, Industries & Machines Manufacturers, Non-residential Building, Data Centers & Networks and in Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the company’s 140,000 plus employees achieved sales of 30.8 billion US dollars in 2012, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Office of Energy & Recycling supports economic development and job creation through a variety of programs and services in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling, and alternative transportation. Programs demonstrate that economic development, sustainable energy, recycling practices, and environmental protection go hand in hand.

Individually tailored programs are available to assist Illinois citizens, communities, non-profit organizations, businesses, industry, and other government agencies in an effort to achieve the Offices’ mission. In addition, the Office continues to promote the leadership of the State of Illinois, through its own energy and recycling policies and practices at state facilities

Contact Us

See contact info for our PR team.

Multimedia Requests

Shedd Aquarium has an extensive library of photos and videos for media use. Learn more and submit a request.

Filming and Access

Find details about media requests and press visits to Shedd.

Calendar of Events

Find out about Shedd Aquarium's upcoming events.

Press Distribution List

Sign up here to receive press releases and other information distributed by Shedd Aquarium’s public relations team.

Follow Us

Stay up-to-date with Shedd news

Sign up for Shedd's email newsletter to be the first to know what's happening at the aquarium, including unique events, behind-the-scenes updates, and exclusive offers.