Albuquerque development opens smart microgrid

The smart grid system, in conjunction with the PNM Prosperity Energy Storage Project, a grid-connected energy storage facility, aims to overcome the challenges presented by the intermittency associated with renewable energy sources

Albuquerque, N.M., May 17, 2012 — A planned community in Albuquerque called Mesa del Sol recently unveiled a smart microgrid project that combines on-site generation, energy management, energy storage and renewable energy.

The smart grid system, in conjunction with the PNM Prosperity Energy Storage Project, a grid-connected energy storage facility, aims to overcome the challenges presented by the intermittency associated with renewable energy sources.

The newly installed microgrid uses on-site solar, fuel cell, natural gas and back-up battery storage to power the 78,000 square foot Aperture Center at Mesa del Sol.

Partnering with Mesa del Sol on the smart grid is Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, PNM, Sandia National Laboratories, The University of New Mexico and nine Japanese companies including Shimizu Corp.

NEDO is investing $22 million in the smart grid. In addition to funding to construct the system, NEDO will monitor and test the system for the next two years. Once complete, the entire project will be turned over to the University of New Mexico's Center for Emerging Energy Technologies for continued research and smart grid development.

The Aperture Center will require 400 kW of electricity during its peak times. The smart grid will manage energy generation sources, the electrical grid and energy storage sources in a sustainable way.

To meet the Aperture Center's needs, NEDO installed a 50 kW solar photovoltaic system, an 80 kW fuel cell, a 240 kW natural gas powered generator and a 160 kilowatt/hour battery storage system as well as a building energy management system and sensors for controlling energy use inside the building.

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