In this week’s Industry Perspectives column, Advanced Energy Group’s H.G. Chissell explores how a meeting at the CAE Q1 event led to the first utility microgrid PEER Gold certification for the Ameren microgrid.
The Ameren microgrid in Champaign, Illinois, has received accolades for its reliability and collaborative partnerships. It has also become the first utility microgrid in the world to receive PEER Gold certification under the PEER (Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal) program administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the global certifying body for the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED green building program. The Chicago Advanced Energy (CAE) Q1 Stakeholder Breakfast in March 2018 played a particularly important role in bringing together the stakeholders who made this happen.
USGBC learned of the Ameren microgrid through S&C Electric, who worked with Ameren to design and build the system. The Ameren Microgrid captured USGBC’s attention because of the unique cooperation, between the two firms, used in designing, building, and operating the resilient microgrid. In addition, the $5 million Ameren microgrid, which can power residential and commercial clients, was the first to be built while connected to live customer loads without issue and it was the first utility microgrid to include military-grade cybersecure controls. For these reasons the Ameren microgrid seemed to be a promising candidate for PEER certification.
It was during the CAE Q1 event that Jamie Statter of USGBC introduced herself to Ameren Illinois representative Rick Welton and began discussing the merits of the microgrid. The event’s focus on resiliency and critical infrastructure allowed Ms. Statter to foster a working relationship with Mr. Welton and connect the entities involved in the Ameren Microgrid PEER certification, “all three being stakeholders of the Advanced Energy Conference has helped to accelerate” the PEER certification, Ms. Statter explained. Thereafter, S&C Electric and Ameren worked with GBCI to document credits and achieve PEER Gold certification—the first utility microgrid in the world to do so. “The Advanced Energy Group meetings are really helpful in finding people committed to driving change.”
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