Project brings integration into the power grid to offer the latest in research and innovation for customers, students and professors.
Georgia Power, PowerSecure and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) gathered on June 16, 2021 to celebrate the opening of the 1.4-megawatt microgrid demonstration in Midtown Atlanta’s Tech Square. The multi-block district boasts the highest density of startups, corporate innovators, academic researchers and students in the Southeast.
The microgrid, which was approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission in 2019, is being used to evaluate how a microgrid can effectively integrate into and operate as part of the overall electrical grid. Additionally, it will serve as a living laboratory for Georgia Tech professors and students to gather data on controllers, cybersecurity devices and energy economics.
"The Tech Square Microgrid, is a proven innovative project that will help us better understand microgrids to help service our customers. It brings energy storage and data front and center for research. The Microgrid's distributed energy resources are vital to enhancing grid resiliency and bringing sustainable energy solutions to Georgia's communities," said Chris Womack, chairman, president and CEO for Georgia Power.
"Georgia Tech is one of the nation's leading research institutions and has been an integral partner in allowing their students and teachers to learn how these systems will interact not only with our grid, but also with the CODA building on the Georgia Tech campus. It's by collectively working together through projects like this that we will build a brighter energy future for our state."
PowerSecure, a Southern Company subsidiary and the nation’s leading distributed energy infrastructure provider, implemented the latest in microgrid technology for this project. PowerSecure’s team of experts has installed, managed and serviced 2+GW of microgrid capacity over the past 20 years, as well as over $800 million of energy efficiency upgrades.
The installation includes fuel cells, battery storage, diesel generators and a natural gas generator, and it is adaptive to new and additional distributed energy resources. It is designed to also accommodate microturbines, solar panels and electric vehicle chargers in the future.
“The Tech Square Microgrid serves as an exciting example of distributed energy resources that connect both possibility and opportunity. The project provides direct learning pathways for students and professors at the Georgia Tech campus – uncovering the crucial role of microgrids as a part of an energy management strategy,” said James Smith, Chief Operating Officer for PowerSecure.
“This advanced microgrid is designed to support capacity resources to Georgia Power, as well as resiliency benefits to the Coda Data Center. Through the Tech Square Microgrid, we’re working together to gather new insights from these smart generation assets: to help our customers and communities prepare for the road ahead, while also empowering the future energy leaders of tomorrow.”
"Georgia Tech is committed to addressing the most consequential challenges of our time," said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. "That involves advancing science and technology, developing leaders who can create and deploy new solutions, and leading by example with our own practices. This microgrid is a great illustration of the latter. In our partnership with Georgia Power and the Georgia Public Service Commission, we will be developing and adopting some of the most advanced, efficient, and responsible energy solutions available in the hope we can serve as an example for others."
All microgrid components will be placed on a platform and obscured from view with seven-foot-high fencing and gate access along Williams Street. The fencing will have a mural designed and commissioned by Atlanta-based artist Georgia F. Baker III to be finished later this year.