PowerSecure, Butler Farms, South River Electric Membership Corporation and its power supplier, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC) recently celebrated the completion of the first-of-its-kind biogas microgrid.
Butler Farms is a sustainability-focused hog farm in rural Lillington, North Carolina. To reduce odor from waste pits the farm captures and burns methane gas from manure to create renewable energy called biogas. The Butler Farms microgrid incorporates resources owned by the farm with components owned by NCEMC to establish a unique partnership and energy solution for the farm and rural region. The microgrid integrates solar generation, a diesel generator, renewable biogas, a controller and energy storage in the form of lithium-ion batteries.
The microgrid will be used to power the farm and nearby homes. It is capable of operating on its own, or it can remain connected to the main grid and supplement conventional sources of electricity. The innovative energy system will provide a reliable and resilient source of power to the farm and neighboring community.
PowerSecure designed and engineered a custom turnkey energy storage and controls solution for the microgrid. The custom controller is a key component of the system and will be used to provide backup generation during anticipated and unanticipated events. The custom controller will allow NCEMC to initiate the microgrid, as well as automatically isolate the farm from the larger electric grid distribution system.
According to NCEMC, “The microgrid provides an opportunity to test the integration of new grid resources and technologies and serves as a case study for how agriculture and electric utilities—two of North Carolina’s most important industries—can work together to enhance the state’s rural communities.”