Microgrid to be Built at Eaton Plant in Puerto Rico

Dec. 2, 2020
The project at Eaton’s Arecibo plant, which makes circuit breakers, includes 5 MW of photovoltaic solar and a 1.1 MW/2.2 MWh battery storage system,

Enel X will build a microgrid at an Eaton manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico, adding to the power management company’s fleet of microgrids.

The project at Eaton’s Arecibo plant, which makes circuit breakers, includes 5 MW of photovoltaic solar and a 1.1 MW/2.2 MWh battery storage system, the companies said Dec. 2. The microgrid will also integrate existing on-site generation.

Enel X and Eaton said they plan to explore other microgrid projects in the region to jointly provide a microgrid-as-service approach.

The project will enable Eaton to reduce its carbon footprint and demand on local energy infrastructure while improving energy resilience, according to Enel X, an Enel Group unit. Eaton will be able to feed excess generation onto Puerto Rico’s grid.

Eaton, with $21.4 billion in revenue last year, aims to be carbon neutral by the end of this decade.

Microgrid to combine Eaton, Enel X technologies

Under the agreement, Enel X will build, own and run the microgrid. Eaton will provide the installation expertise and key technology for the system, including its controller and balance of plant electrical distribution equipment. The controller will optimize where, when and how electricity is used.

The project will use Enel X’s distributed energy resources optimization software to maximize the earnings potential of the project across multiple applications, including on bill savings, incentive programs and grid services.

The planned microgrid reflects Eaton’s “everything as a grid” approach to the power sector’s transition towards a decentralized structure that includes renewables and energy storage. The company says that the shift makes facilities more sustainable and resilient while lowering costs.

Puerto Rico aims to add microgrids in rebuild

The announcement comes several months after the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, the island’s energy regulator, released a plan that calls for the island to develop microgrids and renewable energy with targets of at least 3,500 MW of solar and more than 1,300 MW of storage by 2025. 

Puerto Rico is still rebuilding its infrastructure from Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017. Puerto Rico aims to get 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2025 and all of it from renewables by mid-century.

Eaton has microgrids at company facilities in Pittsburgh and South Africa. The microgrid at the Wadeville manufacturing plant in South Africa has cut electricity costs and downtime by 50%, according to the company. That project was featured during  Microgrid 2020 Global

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Ethan Howland

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