Microgrid racks up firsts with PEER cert, islanding
Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI) awarded the Ameren microgrid a PEER Gold certification, the first microgrid in the world to achieve such recognition for performance excellence under PEER v2, S&C Electric said yesterday. PEER, or Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal, is a certification program that provides a comprehensive framework for defining high-performing power systems.
The $5 million microgrid facility at Ameren's Technology Applications Center (TAC), adjacent to the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, was designed and built through a collaboration of Ameren and S&C Electric, it added.
"Ameren and S&C proved that reliable and resilient power systems are an essential piece of a healthy energy grid," said US Green Building Council (USGBC) and GBCI CEO Mahesh Ramanujam in prepared remarks. S&C called GBCI the global certifying body for PEER and USGBC's LEED green building program.
"We hope PEER will continue to inspire and support projects like the Ameren TAC microgrid in addressing electricity demand, distribution, resiliency, and reliability as we work together to build a global 21st century grid system," he added.
The Ameren Illinois microgrid came online in May last year and received international attention, the firm said. The facility supports a 1-MW residential load through a variety of DG sources including solar, wind, natural gas, and battery storage.
It is the only known microgrid in the nation capable of seamlessly transitioning the power source for an entire distribution circuit from exclusively DG sources to the traditional grid, it added. This concept, known as "islanding," lets Ameren deliver up to 1 MW of residential load to live (paying) customers without experiencing an outage, the firm said.
Recently, the Ameren microgrid successfully tested 24-hour, renewable energy-only islanding, it added.
"With the technologies we're testing at our Champaign microgrid, we're on the ground floor of a movement that will one day reshape how energy is produced and delivered to our customers," said Ameren Illinois President Richard Mark in prepared remarks. "We're proud that our efforts, and those of our project partners, have been recognized with the prestigious PEER certification."
Key criteria for determining PEER certification includes reliability and resiliency, energy efficiency and environment, operations and safety, and grid services. The certification recognizes systems that implement industry best practices and encourages the adoption of innovative strategies that improve efficiency, day-to-day reliability and overall resiliency, the firm said.
PEER was created in collaboration with industry leaders such as S&C Electric and is similar to how LEED evaluates the design, construction, and operations of residential and C&I buildings, it added. PEER assesses utilities, campuses, cities, and transit for high-performing power systems proven to benefit the end customer.
"When S&C teamed up with Ameren to design and build one of the most technically advanced utility microgrids, we knew we would be setting the stage for the future," said S&C Electric Company VP of US Power Systems Solutions Mike Kilpatrick in prepared remarks. "The PEER certification proves our engineering expertise and demonstrates our ability to meet high standards for other progressive projects to come."
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