Monday, July 04, 2011

Howard University to Install Microturbines

Howard University plans to be among the first universities in the area to install a micro grid, a system that would allow it to generate and manage power and save the university millions of dollars. The new project could free the campus from its dependence on the local utility, Pepco, and turn it into a power provider for its Northwest Washington neighborhood.   The campus will still remain connected to Pepco’s grid but will have the ability to sever the connection and maintain power even in the event of an outage.

The project is a joint venture between the university and Pareto Energy, a District-based company that specializes in microgrid design and development. The microgrid will be built with the help of students and faculty at the school’s Center for Energy Systems and Control.

As part of the project, two natural gas generators will be installed on campus that will initially provide about half of the campus’s power. That share will eventually grow. The microgrid could be in place within two years, although some regulatory issues still need to be worked out.  Pepco officials declined to offer details about the university’s microgrid project, citing “customer confidentiality restrictions.”  Howard’s microgrid project will also help improve reliability because it will take some stress off the main power grid operated by Pepco.  The project comes at an opportune time for the campus, which is drafting its 10-year plan. (Wash Post, 7/4/2011)

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