Georgia Power announced on March 6th, in collaboration with Georgia Tech, it will build a new 1.4 MW microgrid in Tech Square at Spring and Fifth streets in Midtown Atlanta. Microgrids are self-contained power systems co-located with the facilities they serve that include generation resources, storage systems, and energy management systems.
The Tech Square Microgrid, which was approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission and will begin operating this fall, will be 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 who will use the asset to gather data on controllers, cybersecurity devices, and energy economics.
“The Tech Square Microgrid project will give us a better understanding of the resiliency, sustainability, and cost of microgrids to help develop emerging energy solutions to better serve our customers now and in the future,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president, and CEO of Georgia Power. “Working with Georgia Tech gives us an opportunity to drive innovation by collaborating with one of the nation’s leading research institutions while students and faculty get a firsthand learning experience on an operating power system.”
The microgrid will provide Georgia Power with insight into how smart energy management systems, such as the one being installed at the Coda data center that is currently under construction, can interact with the grid to achieve optimal utilization of energy. In addition, it will also provide teaching and learning opportunities for Georgia Tech faculty and students.
“Georgia Tech and Georgia Power have partnered on a number of important initiatives over the years, and we are very excited about our latest collaborative effort, the new microgrid in Tech Square,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “In addition to actually delivering power, it will also serve as a ‘research microgrid,’ allowing Georgia Power, Southern Company, Georgia Tech, and other partners to study the microgrid performance and conduct controlled experiments to develop and test new and innovative energy solutions for the future.”
The installation will include fuel cells, battery storage, diesel generators, and a natural gas generator, but 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. All components will be placed on a platform and obscured from view with seven-foot-high fencing and gate access along nearby Williams Street.