Quick Microgrid News…PowerStream, KEPCO, UGE, Alpha Energy, Boulder, Wesleyan

Sept. 3, 2015
Quick Microgrid News for September 3, 2015…Korean utility breaks ground on its first North American microgrid…UGE and ALPHA going global on microgrids…Look what Boulder is up to now…Wesleyan U microgrid adds solar…SCE & Emerson improve Catalina Island microgrid

Penetanguishene Bay, Ontario, Canada. Credit: Adam Quinan, Wikimedia Commons

Quick Microgrid News for September 3, 2015

Canadian energy company PowerStream broke ground Friday on the construction of the Penetanguishene Microgrid in Ontario, Canada. It will be operated from PowerStream’s System Control Center at the company’s head office in Vaughan with remote accessibility for performance monitoring via the internet by the company’s project partner, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) – the largest electric utility in South Korea.

This will be KEPCO’s first microgrid in North America, although it has been involved in the design, construction and commissioning of other microgrids around the world.

The microgrid will be comprised of two 500-kWh batteries as well as a 750 kW power control system. It will be connected to a distribution powerline. When completed in 2016, the Penetanguishene Microgrid will provide up to 11 hours of backup power supply for approximately 400 of the utility’s customers.

Earlier this summer, KEPCO and PowerStream officials signed a memorandum of agreement for their two companies to undertake four projects to further the development of smart distribution and microgrid networks in the North American electricity marketplace.


In other global news, renewable energy provider UGE International and Alpha Energy, an engineering procurement and construction firm, have announced they will collaborate on distributed generation projects – the majority of which will be microgrids, according to a UGE spokeswoman.

UGE has done more than 2,000 installations in more than 100 countries, including a recent installation of wind turbines on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, design and installation of a wind, solar and battery system in the Pacific Islands, and the largest distributed solar portfolio in Central America.

Alpha Energy recently completed construction of the 29.6 MW HXOap Solar Farm in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and is currently engaged in a 100 MW solar farm project in Cumberland County, North Carolina which will be the largest solar facility east of the Rockies once complete.

Together, the companies hope to more efficiently approach the distributed generation and energy storage markets on a global basis. The market is projected to grow at a rate of 300 percent per year according to Navigant Research.

“Alpha Energy’s global engineering procurement and construction expertise on large-scale construction and solar projects is a win for us and our clients,” said Joshua Rogol, director of business development for UGE. “Together, we expect to deploy leading edge solar and microgrid solutions for commercial customers worldwide.”


Colorado’s Denver-Boulder area experienced severe flooding in 2013 that caused damage and outages for thousands of residents. Now, the City of Boulder will receive a $318,000 federal grant to ensure power stays on in a water treatment facility during emergencies.

The city worked closely with a number of leading clean energy development and engineering firms, including Pos-En, Exponential Engineering, Schneider Electric, and the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster to develop the proposal, and is one of four recipients of the Department of Energy (DOE) Resilient Electricity Delivery Infrastructure (REDI) grant.

“The onsite integration of solar PV, battery storage and DC systems is a template that we believe can be replicated in other institutions and local businesses in ways that will increase energy security, significantly lower operating costs and improve overall energy reliability,” said Brett KenCairn, senior environmental planner and project coordinator.

Boulder will install new infrastructure at its water treatment facility, adding capacity and flexibility, both for daily operations and in the event of emergencies. The project will also increase security and reduce ongoing operational expenses and energy costs. The system upgrades include new direct current  circuits, renewable energy generation (solar PV) and battery back-up storage.

The city anticipates final award of the grant in mid-fall, with project work likely to start by October.


Connecticut’s Wesleyan University  is taking another step toward enhancing its microgrid with the installation of a 750 kW-AC ground-mounted PV solar array expected to produce 1.2 million kWh per year.

The new solar PV array will work in collaboration with two existing natural gas combined heat and power facilities on the Wesleyan campus. It will supply power directly to the university’s existing microgrid.

The plan also calls for several campus buildings that are not currently part of the microgrid system to be tied into the network.

Local energy company Greenskies Renewable Energy will begin construction in the spring of 2016, with an estimated Sept. 1, 2016 completion date.

Wesleyan and Greenskies will enter into a power-purchase agreement: Greenskies will design, develop, finance, own and maintain the solar installation for the next 20 years at no cost to the university while Wesleyan agrees to purchase 100 percent of the electricity produced at the site at a significantly discounted rate.


Catalina Island, of the coast of California, is enlisting the help of Emerson automation technologies to improve stability and efficiency of its power microgrid​.

Catalina is home to 4,000 people and host to thousands of tourists each year. Emerson’s SCADA technology will help them maintain stable grid voltage while enabling rapid response to changes in demand caused by fluctuations during the tourist season.

Southern California Edison will use automation technologies from Emerson Process Management to help manage the multiple sources of electric generation that feed the island’s microgrid more efficiently.

Catalina Island’s Pebbly Beach Generating Station is both an electric generating station and a liquefied petroleum gas distribution facility. Emerson’s Ovation control system will help SCE manage six diesel generators, 23 microturbines and a battery storage system, as well as the island’s LPG plant and water treatment and desalination facilities.

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Cara Goman

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