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ComEd Microgrid Completes Final DOE Milestones

ComEd recently announced it has successfully completed final testing requirements of a $4 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to study how microgrids can increase energy security and resilience and support the integration of clean energy – important needs as the climate crisis causes more severe weather events. The tests were conducted on ComEd’s Bronzeville Community Microgrid on Chicago’s South Side.

Microgrids are small power grids with defined boundaries. They can operate in conjunction with the main grid or disconnect and operate standalone to keep power flowing. The tests demonstrated how Distributed Energy Resources (DER), such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage, can be used to support microgrid operations and enhance the resilience of the grid during disruptive events such as storms or natural disasters. In the test, the microgrid successfully disconnected and reconnected to the main power grid without any interruptions in service to customers.

“Demonstrating microgrid technology has presented numerous engineering challenges, and we’ve met them all,” said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president of technical services for ComEd. “These technologies will support a higher level of service to communities throughout our region and drive the entire industry to a more resilient and sustainable future.”

Partnerships with universities, national labs and suppliers have played key roles in the development and testing of the ComEd microgrid technologies. “This project has provided us the opportunity to develop the algorithms that enable utilities to integrate distributed energy technologies while enhancing the resilience of the distribution system,” said Prof. Amin Khodaei, Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Denver. “The impact of this project will be felt the world over as the industry better understands what is possible in integrating clean energy technologies.”

ComEd is scheduled to complete the installation of DER into the microgrid in the coming year, an important step toward the microgrid becoming fully operational. The Bronzeville Community Microgrid will directly serve more than 1,000 residences, businesses and public institutions, as well as customers that provide critical public services, including Chicago police and fire department headquarters.

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