Navy Yard selected for new tech study
PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, announced earlier today United States Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the Navy Yard as the subject for a study on new technology for advanced electrical distribution and controls.
The Navy Yard was selected because of its advanced smart grid distribution system, also referred to as a microgrid, currently being modernized in partnership with PECO.
The study will focus on how to make local electric distribution systems more reliable and create additional resources for the energy industry to deploy larger-scale renewable energy within local communities. This pilot program is the first of its kind on a functional microgrid.
The announcement was made together with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), whose Grid Integration Group has been developing a new technology known as micro-Phasor Measurement Units. LBNL will work with PIDC’s energy team at The Navy Yard through 2017.
“The selection of The Navy Yard for this research is an incredible opportunity and underscores the reputation of our smart grid as one of the most progressive in the country,” John Grady, president of PIDC, said in a press release. “Our smart grid modernization program was designed to distribute electricity more efficiently and deploy renewable energy for the benefit of The Navy Yard tenants allowing us to reduce electric costs to our customers and providing additional green energy alternatives.”
Two years ago, PIDC began an update of the energy infrastructure at The Navy Yard to improve the management of power delivery. The new system is expected to be operational by end of June this year in time for LBNL’s study to commence. Local firm Burns Engineering, Inc. led the development of the microgrid and will provide engineering support as well as project and construction management for the modernization project.
The study by LBNL will test micro-Phasor Measurement Units (micro-PMUs), a modified version of the existing control technology of Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs). Currently used by electric utilities throughout the nation, PMUs serve as sensors that monitor the quality of electric power flowing through large power transmission lines and communicate this critical data in real time to the transmission grid operator.
LBNL will use The Navy Yard to study the use of micro-PMUs to provide a similar function on a smaller scale. The data from micro-PMUs provides real-time visibility and deep analytics for local power distribution circuits.
“This collaboration with Lawrence Berkley National Lab is possible in part because The Navy Yard’s grid is unregulated as determined by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission,” Senior Vice President, Navy Yard Energy Operations and Initiatives at PIDC Will Agate, said. “This pilot installation will study control integration on a commercial functioning microgrid in collaboration with PECO and several private sector firms. Lessons learned in this project will make it possible to deploy future micro-PMU development and data analytics for numerous future installations throughout the United States.”