Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Microgrids  -  May 7, 2019

Emory University proposes microgrid

Emory University is asking for support from the Georgia' Public Service Commission to create a microgrid that would allow some energy for the school to be produced on or near their Atlanta campus and could help prevent parts of the university and the neighboring Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from losing power during hurricanes, cyber-attacks and other calamities.

A report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that the University, a private institution, want “Georgia Power customers to help pay for the system because the community will benefit from protecting critical medical facilities and research.” A state official said they are asking utility regulators to pass on up to $10 million in costs to ratepayers, though Emory did not provide detailed plans or confirm the costs.

The system would initially serve Emory University Hospital and Emory’s Health Sciences Research Buildings, according to a university filing with the state, with future expansion targeted to help some CDC buildings as well as community facilities. The proposed microgrid would include solar power, battery storage, and a combined heat and power system that some in the industry predict would be fueled by natural gas.

“Recent events — such as the sustained outage at the Atlanta Airport, the sniper attack at Pacific Gas and Electric’s transmission substation, outages from Hurricane Sandy, as well as others throughout the country — highlight that the unexpected can happen,” Joan Kowal, Emory’s senior director of energy strategy and utilities, wrote in a filing with the state.

The report noted that Georgia Power already has a micro-grid under construction around Georgia Tech’s Tech Square, where researchers hope to learn about micro-grid deployment. The system is expected to be in operation this fall and would use fuel cells, battery storage, diesel generators, and a natural gas generator. That project was backed by the Public Service Commission.

 

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