Green Business Certification Inc. has awarded the Ameren microgrid a PEER Gold certification. PEER, or Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal, is a certification program that provides a comprehensive framework for defining high-performing power systems.
The $5 million microgrid facility, located at Ameren's Technology Applications Center (TAC) and adjacent to the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois, was designed and built through a collaboration of Ameren and S&C Electric Company.
"Ameren and S&C proved that reliable and resilient power systems are an essential piece of a healthy energy grid," said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and GBCI, the global certifying body for PEER and USGBC's LEED green building program. "We hope PEER will continue to inspire and support projects like the Ameren TAC Microgrid in addressing electricity demand, distribution, resiliency, and reliability as we work together to build a global 21st century grid system."
Ameren Illinois' microgrid came online in May 2017 and has received international attention. The facility supports a 1-MW residential load through a variety of distributed generation sources, including solar, wind, natural gas, and battery storage. It is the only known microgrid in the nation capable of seamlessly transitioning the power source for an entire distribution circuit from exclusively distributed generation sources to the traditional grid. This concept, known as "islanding," enables Ameren to deliver up to 1 megawatt of residential load to live (paying) customers without experiencing an outage. Recently, the Ameren microgrid successfully tested 24-hour, renewable energy-only islanding.
"With the technologies we're testing at our Champaign microgrid, we're on the ground floor of a movement that will one day reshape how energy is produced and delivered to our customers," said Richard J. Mark, chairman and president, Ameren Illinois. "We're proud that our efforts, and those of our project partners, have been recognized with the prestigious PEER certification."
Key criteria for determining PEER certification includes reliability and resiliency, energy efficiency and environment, operations and safety, and grid services. The certification recognizes systems that implement industry best practices and encourages the adoption of innovative strategies that improve efficiency, day-to-day reliability and overall resiliency. PEER was created in collaboration with industry leaders, such as S&C Electric Company, and is administered by GBCI. Similar to how LEED evaluates the design, construction and operations of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, PEER assesses utilities, campuses, cities, and transit for high-performing power systems proven to benefit the end customer.
"When S&C teamed up with Ameren to design and build one of the most technically advanced utility microgrids, we knew we would be setting the stage for the future," said Mike Kilpatrick, vice president of U.S. Power Systems Solutions, S&C Electric Company. "The PEER certification proves our engineering expertise and demonstrates our ability to meet high standards for other progressive projects to come."
Ameren will receive its PEER certification at a ceremony at the Microgrid 2018 conference in Chicago on Tuesday, May 8. Previously awarded projects include: City of Chattanooga, Tenn.; University of Texas at Austin; Bucknell University, Lewisburg Penn.; and New York University Langone Health, New York, New York.