US microgrid passes 24-hour islanding test

US utility Ameren and smart grid firm S&C Electric have announced the completion of a successful 24-hour islanding test at Ameren’s 50 kW microgrid in the state of Illinois.

The $5m microgrid, which came online in May, powers Ameren’s research facility in the city of Champaign. It includes a 125 kW solar PV array from Yingli Solar, a 100 kW wind turbine from Northern Power Systems and 1 MW Caterpillar natural gas-fired genset, as well as 250 kW/500 kWh of battery energy storage from S&C.

According to the companies, the test began with the battery’s charge at 97 per cent. As it fell to 90 per cent, the PV array and wind turbine came online, which carried the power load and recharged the battery. Throughout the day-long test, the firms said the battery charge remained above 88 per cent.

“In short, the microgrid functioned without any human interaction, automatically co-ordinating resources and ensuring power never faltered,” a statement read.

David Chiesa, senior director, business development at S&C, said: “When designing this microgrid, we were confident that the seamless transition and the ability to run solely on renewable generation would be two of the biggest features to this system.

“Microgrids are becoming more commonplace on the grid, and this test continues to prove how impactful they can be for energy users.”


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