Georgia Power has partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, to build a 1.4MW microgrid at Tech Square at Spring and 5th streets in Metro Atlanta.

Georgia Power

Image: Georgia Power chairman, president and CEO Paul Bowers. Photo: Courtesy of PR Newswire/Georgia Power.

Georgia Power said that the pilot project will test microgrid integration into power grid and will act as a live laboratory for professors and students at the institute.

Microgrids are self-contained power systems that will be co-located with the facilities they serve and include generation resources, storage systems and energy management systems. The microgrid at Tech Square will include fuel cells, battery storage, diesel generators and a natural gas generator and it is also adaptive to new and additional distributed energy resources.

It has been designed to accommodate microturbines, solar panels and electric vehicle chargers in the future. All the components will be placed on a platform and will be hidden from view with seven-foot-high fencing and gate access along Williams Street in Atlanta.

The microgrid at Tech Square was approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission and is expected to begin operations this fall. It will used to evaluate how a microgrid can effectively integrate into and operate as part of the overall electrical grid.

Additionally, Georgia Tech professors and students will use the microgrid to gather data on controllers, cybersecurity devices and energy economics.

Georgia Power chairman, president and CEO Paul Bowers said: “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.

“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.”

Georgia Power also stated that the microgrid will provide an insight on how smart energy management systems, such as the one being installed at CODA data center, can interact with the grid to achieve optimal energy usage.

In January, the company filed a 20-year plan with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC). The plan includes proposal for new renewable energy programs and a request to approve the procurement of up to 1GW of new renewable resources. If approved, the company’s total renewable energy capacity would increase to 18% of its portfolio by 2024.