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DOE releases interactive tool for tracking microgrids installed throughout the U.S.

June 1, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
June 1, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on May 26 announced the release of a new, interactive tool for tracking microgrids installed throughout the U.S.

The DOE noted that a microgrid is a local grid with an independent source of energy capable of disconnecting or “islanding” from the utility grid. Microgrids improve resilience by allowing critical facilities to continue operating in the event of a utility-grid outage. For manufacturers and industrial facilities, microgrids can also help ensure delivery of the high-quality, reliable electricity necessary to maintain today’s increasingly digitized operations, DOE said.

The Microgrid Installation Database includes a comprehensive listing of the country’s 461 operational microgrids that provide a total of 3.1 gigawatts of electricity. The information, which is updated on a monthly basis, is presented in a tabular format to help users easily access and sort data, DOE said.

The site features an interactive map of microgrid installations across the U.S., he ability to filter and search for sites by technology, end-user application, generation and storage capacity, and operating year, and downloadable data files.

The database is available here.

The new Microgrid Installation Database is co-located with a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Installation Database, which captures the nation’s CHP installations. CHP technologies allow facilities to generate on-site electric power and useful thermal energy from a single fuel source.

Public power utilities and microgrids

A number of public power utilities are actively pursuing or have completed microgrid projects.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, recently visited a Snohomish County PUD (Everett, WA) microgrid site. The Arlington microgrid is currently undergoing testing and commissioning and should be fully operational in a few months.

Meanwhile, the first phase of the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s (WAPA) plan to develop an 18-megawatt (MW) microgrid, complete with a battery storage system, for the west end of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, has received an initial allocation of federal funding, WAPA said on April 9.

Also in April, Chattanooga, Tenn., Mayor Andy Berke, EPB President and CEO David Wade, Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy, and Chattanooga Fire Chief Phil Hyman confirmed that construction would soon begin on a new collaborative microgrid project between the City of Chattanooga and EPB. The project aims to increase resilience and redundancy of power supply to the city’s public safety agencies via on-site solar arrays, traditional backup generation, battery storage and a microgrid controller.

And in January 2021, Lincoln Electric System in Nebraska reported that it put a 29-megawatt (MW) microgrid in service at virtually no cost.