ComEd signs Enchanted Rock to deliver gas-fired generation supporting microgrid cluster project

By Rod Walton, Power Engineering and POWERGEN+ content director

Houston-based gas power firm Enchanted Rock was selected by utility ComEd to provide generation for its Bronzeville Community Microgrid project.

ComEd Awarded $4 Million for Migrogrid Demonstration Project

The unique Bronzeville microgrid cluster on Chicago’s South Side will provide grid resiliency and backup energy to more than 1,000 residences, businesses and public institutions. Among those will be the Chicago police and fire headquarters and Illinois Tech.

“Enchanted Rock will help us ensure the Bronzeville microgrid provides continuous power in the event of a major interruption, and it will do so cost effectively and with lower emissions,” said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president of Technical Services, ComEd. “The Enchanted Rock solution provides clean, fast-response power resiliency that integrates with our existing solar and battery storage assets in support of our clean grid goals.”

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Enchanted Rock will own and operate the microgrid’s power generating system and use its integrated Reliability on Call (iROC) service to deliver long-duration backup power with the cleanest technology available. Around-the-clock monitoring by the company’s Microgrid Network Operations Center (mNOC) helps identify and address issues before they become problems.

 Power Solutions International, Inc. (PSI), headquartered in Wood Dale, Illinois, supplies Enchanted Rock’s engines and gen-sets from its plants in the Chicago area and the Great Lakes region.

“ComEd’s Bronzeville project is recognized as one of the most innovative microgrid designs in the nation,” said Thomas McAndrew, founder and CEO of Enchanted Rock. “We’re excited to partner with ComEd to demonstrate the ability of microgrids to keep power flowing to communities and critical infrastructure while supporting the use of renewable energy resources.”      

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ComEd calls Bronzeville the first utility-operated microgrid cluster in the nation. The 7.7-MW series of gensets, solar and energy storage assets was approved by Illinois utility regulators in 2018.

ComEd was awarded $4 million by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to design and deploy solar and battery storage technology for the microgrid demonstration project.

Microgrid technology has risen in deployment and popularity in the wake of weather events and other large-scale system interruptions. Experts from ComEd presented on the attributes of the Bronzeville Community Microgrid project when POWERGEN International came to New Orleans in 2019.

(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering, POWERGEN International and the POWERGEN+ virtual series. He has 14 years experience covering the energy industry for both the newspaper and business media industries. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and rod.walton@clarionevents.com).

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