Bronzeville Community Microgrid

A microgrid is a small power grid that can connect to the main grid or disconnect from it to keep locally generated power flowing in times of emergency.

ComEd Microgrid Plan Approved

On February 28th, the Illinois Commerce Commission approved ComEd’s Plan for the Bronzeville Microgrid. This project will create one of the first microgrid clusters in the nation. “The microgrid project complements Bronzeville’s long history of innovation,” said Alderman Pat Dowell. “Our vision for our historic community is centered on sustainability and accelerating the adoption of smart technology and infrastructure. Grid security and support for renewable energy sources are essential to realizing this vision and that’s what the microgrid will bring. The Bronzeville community looks forward to continuing a robust civic engagement process as we build out the components of the microgrid.”
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Global Climate Action Summit

Dr. Shay Bahramirad, vice president Engineering and Smart Grid, ComEd, said at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this week that energy efficiency is probably the most cost effective strategy to reduce carbon emissions while contributing to neighborhood affordability and supporting the local economy. She also reported that the Bronzeville Community Microgrid is now under construction and will support the penetration of distributed energy resources (DER) like solar PV.
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Construction Begins

Phase I of the Bronzeville microgrid construction began June 26 as crews installed conduit that will connect the microgrid to the ComEd system. The City of Chicago Public Safety Headquarters (below, center) is one of several facilities in the Bronzeville Community Microgrid footprint that provide critical services.

Supported by the U.S. Dept. of Energy

ComEd is leveraging two grants awarded by the Department of Energy to construct the Bronzeville Community Microgrid. The first grant supports the development of an advanced microgrid controller, the “brains” of the microgrid. It will connect with the microgrid on the campus of IIT, creating one of the first “utility-scale” microgrid clusters in the nation. The second Department of Energy grant supports the design and deployment of solar and battery storage technology in a microgrid.

The project builds upon ComEd’s smart grid platform and a continuous effort to advance the design and performance of the electric system serving northern Illinois. Phase I of the project will include 2.5 MW of load and require reconfiguration of an existing feeder, and installation of battery storage and solar PV. It will directly serve approximately 490 customers.

Phase II of the project will add approximately 570 customers and an additional 4.5 MW of load and 7 MW of DERs, enough to meet the peak electricity demand of customers within the microgrid footprint and maintain service when the microgrid is islanded from ComEd’s grid. The completed project will serve approximately 1,060 residential, commercial, and small industrial customers.

Energy Innovation & Security

Microgrids deliver reliability, resiliency, and security

Microgrids will advance Illinois as a leader in energy technology, and clean, smart city infrastructure

Bronzeville is part of the path forward, serving as a testbed for tomorrow’s energy future

It will create one of the first “utility-scale” microgrid clusters in the nation

Community of the Future

A microgrid is a small power grid that can connect to the main grid or disconnect from it to keep locally generated power flowing in times of emergency.

A mini power grid supplied by wind and solar helps the Illinois Institute of Technology meet its 21st century power needs.

Take a look at what your community might look like in 2025.

Bronzeville Microgrid Footprint

The demonstration microgrid project will be located within Bronzeville in an area bounded from 33rd Street to the North, 38th Street to the South, State Street to the West, and South Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Drive to the East. Bronzeville was selected following a comprehensive study to evaluate locations where a microgrid could be located.

Microgrid Diagram Phase 2