Chicago’s New Microgrid System

Chicago, Illinois has a population of 9.5 million and is the third largest city in the United States. Illinois regulations have approved a plan to build the first utility-scale microgrid system in the United States. The microgrid project will be built by Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) and will be located in the South Side of Chicago.

ComEd is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, which is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Exelon is the largest regulated utility in the United States with approximately ten million customers. Exelon is also the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the United States. Exelon has operations in forty-seven states and Canada.

The first phase of the microgrid project will include 2.5 MW of load and require reconfiguration of an existing feeder, and installation of battery storage and solar PV. The second phase will add 4.5 MW of load and 7 MW of distributed energy resources.   The microgrid project is expected to be completed in 2019.

Microgrid systems can redistribute power during periods of peak demand and remove weather uncertainty from renewable energy, such as wind and solar. Microgrid systems are invaluable during major power outages from natural or manmade disasters. In my opinion, microgrid systems should be developed for all major population centers in the United States.

Governor Kate Brown, Senator Ginny Burdick, and Mayor Ted Wheeler, why is a microgrid system being developed for the Portland area? Do the citizens of Portland have to wait for a natural disaster for our government officials to take appropriate action?



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