As part of its commitment to innovation and building a smarter, clean energy infrastructure, Ameren Corporation (AEE) announced completion of one of the most technologically advanced utility-scale microgrids in North America. The USD 5M facility, located at Ameren’s Technology Applications Center (TAC) adjacent to the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois, is one of the only utility-scale microgrids in the nation capable of serving live (paying) customer loads on an actual utility distribution feeder.
As larger companies and high energy users seek to become more energy independent, Ameren built the microgrid facility to test monitoring and control methods for aggregating clean, renewable energy sources – wind, solar, and natural gas – with advanced automation and battery storage. The Ameren microgrid is one of the few in the world that operate at utility-scale voltages, between 4-kilovolts and 34.5-kilovolts, with multiple levels of control. It is the only known microgrid in the nation capable of seamlessly transitioning the power source for an entire distribution circuit from exclusively distributed generation sources to the traditional grid.
Construction on the Ameren microgrid was completed in December 2016, followed by testing in the Q1 2017.