This piece was originally published in the November 2017 issue of electroindustry.
David Chiesa, Senior Director, Business Development, S&C Electric Company
The best way to learn about the benefits of a microgrid is to operate one.
When Ameren, an Illinois utility, expressed interest in learning how microgrids could affect its overall system reliability, S&C responded. It designed, built, and commissioned a system of four interconnected generation sources: energy storage, wind, solar, and natural gas generators. These assets are managed by a comprehensive, cyber-secure, distributed microgrid controller to power dynamic consumer loads.
The system runs 16 use cases and can transition from grid to islanding mode as necessary, charging the storage and powering the surrounding customer load on 100 percent renewable generation. When the main grid returns, the microgrid seamlessly returns to the grid from island mode without an outage.
As the operator of one of the most advanced utility-scale microgrids, Ameren sets a high standard for system integration. Its microgrid is a benchmark that will help answer industry challenges to integrating distributed resources.