US’ Second Largest Egg Producer Partners with Electric Cooperatives on Microgrid

Feb. 28, 2020
North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives are partnering with Rose Acre Farms and its local electric cooperative, Tideland EMC, to develop an agricultural microgrid in Hyde County.

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives are partnering with Rose Acre Farms and its local electric cooperative, Tideland EMC, to develop an agricultural microgrid in Hyde County.

The aim of the microgrid project is to deliver enhanced environmental sustainability and power grid resiliency. It will include solar panels, energy storage, and other components owned by the cooperatives, as well as resources owned by the farm.

The North Carolina Electric Membership Corp. (NCEMC) is building the bulk of the project and will own the solar panels, batteries and microgrid controller. Tideland will own the distribution infrastructure. Rose Acre Farms already has back-up generators that are going to be incorporated into the microgrid. NCEMC has not yet selected a contractor for the project.

Rose Acre Farms, based in Seymour, Indiana, is the second-largest egg producer in the United States, with 18 locations in seven states. Rose Acre Farms is also Tideland’s largest consumer-member.

Agricultural microgrid to lower emissions, improve resilience

The first phase of the agricultural microgrid, expected to be completed in fourth-quarter 2020, calls for the installation of a 2 MW solar array and a 2 MW battery storage system, which allows energy generated by the panels to be stored and dispatched when needed.

The solar installation is expected to offset about one-third of energy consumed by Rose Acre Farm and improve its emissions profile. About 60% of the farm’s power comes from Tideland EMC’s emissions-free nuclear and renewables resources. The microgrid project will help Rose Acre Farms meet its emission reduction targets and comply with the emissions standards of its distribution partners.

The second phase of the project calls for the installation of a microgrid controller late in the first quarter of 2021 to manage existing emergency backup diesel generators and other components that will turn the solar-storage installation into a full-fledged microgrid that will be capable of generating electricity during times of power loss.

“We’re really amenable to hosting these,” said Heidi Smith, Tideland spokeswoman.

It is the second microgrid on Tideland’s system, she added. “It worked out really well. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Sharing knowledge with other cooperatives

Smith noted that Rose Acre Farms has several farms in Indiana where it is served by other electric cooperatives and said there is a definite interest in share the knowledge base with other co-ops. “It allows co-ops to be ahead of the curve on this new energy frontier.”

In February 2017, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and Tideland began operation of a microgrid on Ocracoke on North Carolina’s Outer Banks that includes a 3-MW diesel generator and a 15-kW rooftop solar array with a PowerSecure battery and a Tesla controller.

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives also pioneered a pilot microgrid project in Lillington, N.C., with Butler Farms that includes a biogas generator, solar power and a battery storage system. The microgrid provides the farm with power when service has been interrupted, and it also enables the farm to sell from renewable sources, including swine waste and solar power, to its electric cooperative, South River EMC.

And a collaboration of North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, Brunswick Electric and developer The Adams Group built Heron’s Nest in Shallotte, the state’s first residential microgrid. The microgrid incorporates 30 houses with rooftop solar panels, demand response water heaters, demand response programmable thermostats and an option for electric vehicle charging. The installation also included a community solar array with battery storage.

Track news about agricultural microgrids. Subscribe to the free Microgrid Knowledge newsletter.

About the Author

Peter Maloney

Exploring the Potential of Community Microgrids Through Three Innovative Case Studies

April 8, 2024
Community microgrids represent a burgeoning solution to meet the energy needs of localized areas and regions. These microgrids are clusters of interconnected energy resources,...

Download the full report

Five Keys to Effectively Managing the Power Grid with AI

Veritone presents five artificial intelligence-powered solutions that help those in the electric power industry enhance grid resilience, increase the rate of decarbonization, ...