Photos taken during the 2012 Hurricane Sandy disaster almost literally turned the spotlight onto microgrids.
Images posted on social media and in the news during the storm showed swaths of Manhattan plunged into darkness as power outages cut off electricity to large parts of America’s biggest city.
Just as striking, however, were blossoms of light visible against the otherwise black skyline.
Many of these lighted outposts had separated from the grid and were now generating electricity on their own. These microgrids were islands of light in a sea of darkness. Facilities such as hospitals were able to provide critical services both during and after the storm because of microgrids.
Now, Ameren Corp. has completed a $5 million microgrid at its Technology Applications Center adjacent to the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Ill. The facility is one of the only utility-scale microgrids in the United States that serves live customer loads on an actual utility distribution feeder. (Read more.)