Ameren Corp. is piloting the first investor-owned utility microgrid able to island customers on an active utility feed. The system will integrate wind, solar, energy storage and natural gas-based electric generation, allowing the microgrid its energy sources to maximize its efficiency and allowing the utility to test how generation sources react to live customer demands on a utility distribution feeder.
The microgrid will include a 500 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That will be combined with 100 kilowatts of wind, 125 kilowatts of solar and one-megawatt of natural gas generation to handle a one-megawatt local residential load. It’s all going to be integrated with S&C Electric’s PureWave SMS-250 storage management and automation system.
“In leveraging S&C’s advanced automation and battery storage capabilities, along with the expertise of our other project partners, we have built one of the most technologically advanced utility-scale microgrids in North America,” said Richard J. Mark, chairman and president, Ameren Illinois. “The work we’re doing at the Champaign microgrid is preparing us to cost-effectively meet future demand for cleaner energy. We’re paving the way for a smarter, more reliable and resilient grid right here in Illinois.”
The S&C system is located at Ameren’s Technology Application Center in Champaign, IL. The system will allow it to manage the microgrid’s on-site distributed energy sources to maximize its generation capacity efficiently, and allows the utility to test how the generation sources react to live customer demands on a utility distribution feeder.
“When a microgrid islands from the larger grid it loses all of the essential ancillary services that provide customers the quality power they need,” said David Chiesa, senior director, business development, S&C. “Ensuring that customers are seamlessly supported by the distributed generation of a cyber-secure microgrid requires expert engineering, energy storage, and intelligent equipment that can think and act quickly.”
With the PureWave system, the Ameren microgrid can operate at utility-scale voltages between 4 kilovolts and 34.5 kilovolts, enabling it to have several levels of control. This allows a seamless transition from microgrid islanding back to utility grid power use without customers experiencing an interruption of service. “Through S&C’s energy storage management systems, we can provide multiple value streams to ensure the microgrid and surrounding community experience optimal resiliency,” added Chisea.Tweet