Utility-Scale Microgrid from PowerStream & KEPCO Up and Running

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(L-R): Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of the City of Markham and PowerStream Board Vice-Chair; Arthur Potts, MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change; Brian Bentz, President & CEO, PowerStream; and Dr. Cho, President & CEO

The duo of PowerStream and Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) now have a utility-scale microgrid to show as they market their technology in North America.

PowerStream, an Ontario utility, and KEPCO, South Korea’s largest utility, cut the ribbon this week on a microgrid that serves 400 residential and business customers in Penetanguishene, a small town north of Toronto on Georgian Bay.

The project is meant to highlight the microgrid controller and other smart grid technologies that the pair are marketing together, part of KEPCO’s larger effort to position itself worldwide as a ‘smart energy creator.’

The utilities signed an agreement last year to undertake four smart grid projects together, one of which is the Penetanguishene microgrid, according to Eric Fagen, PowerStream’s vice president of corporate communications.

Located adjacent to PowerStream’s Robert Street Municipal Substation, the islandable microgrid draws and supplies power from the grid. It includes a 750-kW power conversion system, 500 kWh of stationary batteries, several automatic switches, voltage regulation devices and other grid automation equipment.

The system’s advanced microgrid controller, called the Microgrid Distributed Energy Resource Automation System (MiDAS), allows the microgrid to operate autonomously and optimize its resources.

The microgrid can operate either connected or disconnected from the provincial grid. The batteries provide back-up power, so that PowerStream can keep electricity flowing to the microgrid customers even when there is a loss of supply from Hydro One transmission lines.

No distributed generation was installed in the microgrid, but it may be added at a later date. In particular, the team is considering the addition of solar, according to Fagen.

In addition to unveiling the completed microgrid, PowerStream and KEPCO officials this week signed a joint development agreement to offer their microgrid technology to other communities and customers.

[clickToTweet tweet=”PowerStream and #KEPCO #microgrid biz off and running. 1st project done. http://ow.ly/ZbrI301Ofxy ” quote=”PowerStream and #KEPCO #microgrid biz off and running. 1st project done. http://ow.ly/ZbrI301Ofxy”]

Hwan-Eik Cho, KEPCO CEO and president said that the project shows that their microgrid technology is “of global standards and are globally competitive.”

“This success will create a momentum for KEPCO’s advance to the North American market and the establishment of the global KEPCO energy belt that connects Americas, Africa, Middle East, and Asia,” he said.

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KEPCO also has committed to invest over $7 billion in its smart grid business by 2030 to make electricity distribution more efficient and decrease South Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Penetanguishene Microgrid is being operated from PowerStream’s System Control Center at the company’s head office in Vaughan and allows for performance monitoring by KEPCO through remote accessibility.

“The Penetanguishene Microgrid is another example of our commitment to find innovative solutions to improve reliability and provide more energy choices for our customers,” said Maurizio Bevilacqua, PowerStream chair and mayor of the City of Vaughan. “We look forward to continuing to build upon this technology for energy customers in our service territory and beyond.”

The utility-scale microgrid marks the latest inroad of PowerStream into the microgrid market. In 2013, PowerStream became one of the first utilities of its size in North America to initiate a proof-of-concept microgrid as a demonstration project, which is located at its head office.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two 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.

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