The microgrid projects keep coming … Ameresco, Enchanted Rock and 127 Energy

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This week brought announcements of some signature microgrid projects, most notably a microgrid that Ameresco and PEI Energy are building for Prince Edward Islands (PEI), Canada.

ameresco

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. By Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock.com

The picturesque coastal province first announced plans for the microgrid in April 2020, describing it then as a part of a move to ease COVID-19 related financial hardships by reducing energy costs for those who live on the island.

This week’s announcement named the project’s contractors: Ameresco, a major US-based microgrid player, and PEI Energy, an energy company that operates transmission and renewable energy on the island.

Called the Slemon Park Microgrid, it will consist of a 10-MW solar facility with direct current-coupled energy storage. Designed to benefit local residents, commercial businesses and the grid, the microgrid will help balance renewable energy and manage peak load demand within Slemon Park. It is also expected to offset about 4,500 tons of carbon per year.   

“The Slemon Park Microgrid project will further our goal of achieving net-zero energy by 2030 on Prince Edward Island. With the addition of a new, clean renewable energy grid, we’ll be able to better reduce our baseline greenhouse gas emissions and create a more resilient future,” said Steven Myers, PEI’s minister of environment, energy and climate action.

Construction began in December 2021, and the project is expected to begin operation this fall.

Microgrids to protect seniors

Power outages are particularly dangerous for older people, especially those in care facilities who cannot easily evacuate and are left with no heat, no refrigeration for medications and no electricity to run medical equipment. 

So Enchanted Rock has been focusing on microgrids for senior facilities. Its most recent endeavor will bring microgrids to three Houston, Texas, area senior facilities run by Retirement Center Management.

Texas experienced a wake-up call about the vulnerability of its electric grid last winter when the electric system experienced a near total collapse during an unusual deep freeze that left more than 260 people dead. 

With a strong presence in Texas, Enchanted Rock was able to show the worth of its microgrid technology during the freeze. Its microgrids supplied continuous power to more than 140 of its customers’ sites that experienced grid outages, protecting them for 4,984 outage hours over eight days.

The natural gas microgrids not only served grocery stores, distribution centers, water districts, health care, manufacturing and senior citizen facilities, but also provided capacity to the beleaguered grid. 

Retirement Center Management selected The Village of Southampton, The Village of River Oaks and The Village of Tanglewood for the microgrid installations.

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Castello di Amorosa winery. Photo courtesy of 127 Energy

Castle microgrid

California’s agricultural industry is showing growing interest in microgrids as the state’s electric grid suffers from wildfire-related power outages. Wineries, in particular, have embraced the technology, most recently Castello di Amorosa, which has incorporated a 556-kWh battery storage microgrid into its 13th-century inspired Tuscan architecture.

The microgrid was built by 127 Energy, a renewable energy project development firm, in partnership with Centrica Business Solutions, an integrated energy solutions company, and inverter supplier Sungro.

Situated in Napa Valley, the microgrid will provide the winery with power supply during utility grid outages. During normal times, the microgrid will be used to reduce the facility’s utility energy charges and demand charges.

Interested in learning more about microgrids? Join us June 1-2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a gathering of the innovators and visionaries behind microgrids. Learn how you can become part of this profound transformation at Microgrid 2022: Microgrids as Climate Heroes.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.