Chicago-based ComEd and Siemens are partnering on their first utility-operated microgrid cluster.
On February 28, the Illinois Commerce Commission approved ComEd’s plan to construct a microgrid in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. It will connect with the microgrid on the nearby campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, creating an opportunity for Siemens to work with ComEd in the testing and implementation of the software that will operate within the Siemens Microgrid Management System.
The project will allow ComEd to take full advantage of work funded by two grants awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE). The first grant supported the development and testing of a microgrid controller; the second is focused on studying how large amounts of solar PV and batteries can be integrated into a microgrid.
ComEd’s software development includes advanced algorithms to manage and optimize the use of distributed energy resources for multiple microgrids, enabling increased efficiency, resiliency and environmental outcomes from these installations. As a next step, ComEd will integrate its algorithms with Siemens’ MGMS software to implement control actions for the microgrid installations. The software, currently in laboratory testing, will control one of the first microgrid clusters in the world —ComEd’s Bronzeville Community Microgrid connected to the privately owned microgrid at IIT.
The Bronzeville Community Microgrid is expected to serve roughly 1,060 customers, including those providing critical services like the Chicago Police Department headquarters. In the case of emergency, the microgrid will enable them to provide services to the region at large and demonstrate the cutting-edge deployment and operation of solar PV and energy storage within a microgrid.