Building a More Sustainable and Resilient Grid

Dr. Shay Bahramirad
Keynote talk: Building a More Sustainable and Resilient Grid

In this age of climate crisis, stakeholders are recognizing the need to integrate larger quantities of advanced energy technologies, from renewable generation to electrified transportation. Electric utilities the world over are challenged to integrate new technologies while limiting impacts to grid reliability. Further, the expectation of more frequent and intense weather events will drive the need for smart grid investments that provide greater energy resilience.

Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) is developing and deploying technologies that enable increased penetration of low-carbon technologies, mitigate the effects of climate change, and enable higher levels of resilience, helping the communities in the utility’s service territory adapt to a changing environment. Many of these technologies are being demonstrated in Chicago where ComEd is installing the Bronzeville Community Microgrid (BCM). Within the BCM ComEd is deploying the first utility-operated microgrid cluster, serving 7 MW of load, that is being used as a living laboratory to demonstrate advanced technologies that support the integration of distributed energy resources (DERs). Together, these technologies ensure that ComEd can provide clean power, supporting communities to meet their goals.

With support from the Department of Energy (DOE), ComEd developed and is demonstrating a microgrid master controller that can operate two or more connected microgrids. Also in partnership with the DOE, ComEd developed a microgrid-integrated solar storage technology that uses smart inverters, energy storage, and a microgrid controller that enables solar PV to operate as a controllable resource. This technology is being demonstrated with 750 kW of solar PV and 500 kW/2MWh of energy storage. Finally, ComEd is demonstrating a distributed linear estimation capability that supports the integration of DER.

ComEd is deploying such technologies to enable higher penetration of renewable generation that can increase the grid’s sustainably, foster resiliency, and mitigate the effects of energy-disruptive events. These innovations support efforts to make communities even more sustainable, by embracing electrification. Doing this requires rich partnerships with community stakeholders to maximize the impact of these innovations, by identifying which technological solution can meet the needs of an individual community, and how it can be best leveraged. In the neighborhood of Bronzeville, Chicago, ComEd is doing just this as part of a broader community of the future initiative, which deploys technologies from an electric vehicle mobility program to STEM education opportunities, all built on the foundation of a community microgrid. The community-level approach pursued by ComEd will drive meaningful change on a local level that can be replicated regionally, nationally or globally.