Siemens has used the platform of its annual US Innovation Day to announce partnering with Chicago-based ComEd on the first utility-operated microgrid cluster in the nation.
On February 28, the Illinois Commerce Commission (‘ICC’) approved ComEd’s plan to construct a microgrid in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. It will connect with the microgrid on the nearby campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), creating an opportunity for Siemens to work with ComEd in the testing and implementation of the software that will operate within the Siemens fieldproven Microgrid Management System (MGMS).
The project will allow ComEd to take full advantage of work funded by two grants awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE). The first grant supported the development and testing of a microgrid controller; the second is focused on studying how large amounts of solar PV and batteries can be integrated into a microgrid.
ComEd’s software development includes advanced algorithms to manage and optimize the use of distributed energy resources for multiple microgrids, enabling increased efficiency, resiliency and environmental outcomes from these installations. As a next step, ComEd will integrate its algorithms with Siemens’ MGMS software to implement control actions for the microgrid installations. The software, currently in laboratory testing, will control one of the first microgrid clusters in the world –ComEd’s Bronzeville Community Microgrid connected to the privately owned microgrid at IIT.
“Our goal is to successfully exhibit the first utility-operated microgrid cluster in the world, an approach we believe will bring energy customers an unprecedented level of power security and resilience,” said Terence Donnelly, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), ComEd. “Bringing together Siemens’ extensive experience in the utility software development and implementation space with our efforts will help keep power flowing for our customers.”
The Bronzeville Community Microgrid is expected to serve roughly 1,060 customers, including those providing critical services like the Chicago Police Department headquarters. In the case of emergency, the microgrid will enable them to provide services to the region at large and demonstrate the cutting-edge deployment and operation of solar PV and energy storage within a microgrid.
“ComEd has shown extraordinary leadership and vision including winning two prestigious grants for this innovative project, and we are proud that they have chosen Siemens to play an integral role in helping make it a reality,” said Mike Carlson, president of Siemens Digital Grid, North America.
“Using our microgrid management software, the utility will be able to take a significant step forward in redefining America’s energy landscape, namely how to use distributed grid architecture in form of microgrids will power our grid as reliably, resiliently, and efficiently as possible.”