ComEd Bronzeville Community Microgrid Demonstrates Ability to Keep Power Flowing in Event of an Emergency
University of Denver Partners with ComEd and Other Organizations on this Innovative Project
ComEd announced today that it successfully conducted a test proving that the Bronzeville Community Microgrid can keep power flowing in the event of an emergency. The “simulated islanding” test checked the resiliency of the microgrid by mimicking events that have the potential to affect power delivery, including major weather events or cyber security or acts of terrorism.
As the realities of climate change become more apparent, projects like the Bronzeville Community Microgrid support efforts to integrate additional renewable generation, including wind and solar while enhancing resiliency for communities.
Essentially a small power grid with defined boundaries, a microgrid can operate in conjunction with the main grid or disconnect from it and operate in island mode when there’s an interruption on the main grid. The set of tests ComEd conducted demonstrated the microgrid’s ability to provide power in island mode while drawing upon distributed energy resources (DERs), including battery energy storage and solar photovoltaic PV, to serve customers within the microgrid footprint.
“The Bronzeville microgrid not only demonstrated the value it offers the community when the grid is impacted by a disruptive event, but also in supporting integration of renewable energy,” said Terence R. Donnelly, president, ComEd. “This test is an important milestone for ComEd and the Bronzeville community, and numerous supporters in government, academia and industry. We’re grateful for the support of an exceptional group of partners, including Illinois Tech, University of Denver, Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Quanta Technology, SIEMENS, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).”
During the test, a portion of ComEd’s electric grid operated from distributed energy resources to demonstrate the capability of the microgrid to serve the customers in its footprint. The residences, businesses and public institutions served by this circuit in Bronzeville received power from a locally sited battery energy storage system, solar energy and mobile generation. Customers experienced no difference in the level of service during the test and were not separated from the system at any time.
The microgrid will ultimately connect with an existing microgrid on the campus of Illinois Tech, resulting in one of the most advanced urban microgrid clusters in the nation. Donnelly said, “The microgrid cluster creates a unique opportunity to study how to maximize the value of the interaction between two microgrids in the ongoing effort to enhance grid resiliency and security.”