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Chattanooga Celebrates Completion of 'Power to Protect' Microgrid for Enhanced Emergency Power Resiliency

May 31, 2023
New microgrid at police and fire department headquarters ensures 24/7 power and community safety.

The completion of the “Power to Protect” microgrid was recently celebrated by the City of Chattanooga and EPB at the Chattanooga Police Services Center and Fire Department headquarters in Chattanooga. This microgrid can generate power in emergencies and sustain operations 24/7/365 to meet the needs of the Chattanooga community indefinitely.

The microgrid serves various functions at the headquarters, including the SWAT team, homicide unit, Chattanooga Fire Station 10, radio control center, city camera surveillance, and critical communication infrastructure. While it hasn’t been used in an emergency, regular tests are conducted.

EPB's Smart Grid provides two power pathways to the headquarters, and the microgrid serves as a third line of defense during widespread outages.

To enhance power resiliency, EPB moved a power pole from the front to the back of the building to avoid potential damage from accidents on the busy Amnicola Highway.

The Power to Protect microgrid includes two main generation and storage systems:

Generation: The City of Chattanooga acquired a 200 kW diesel generator and 155 kW of solar panels, installed “behind the meter” to reduce energy consumption and lower the monthly bill by around 20%.

Storage: EPB invested in a 500 kW battery to support the microgrid and reduce peak load during extreme weather, lowering TVA’s peak demand charge to EPB and reducing energy costs for residents and businesses.

By utilizing energy storage to minimize peak demand charges, EPB’s investment will pay for itself within six to seven years.

EPB’s Smart Grid includes a 9,000-mile fiber optic backbone with 1,200 smart switches, sensors, and devices to automatically reroute power during disruptions. EPB is expanding its EPB Local Energy Mix to enhance power resiliency, business continuity, and reduce costs through peak demand management. Several projects are planned, especially in rural areas that may take longer to restore power.

The May issue of T&D World featured this project in an in-depth article: "Chattanooga EPB Microgrid Serves Emergency Response Center."

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