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Lockheed Martin stores energy for ComEd microgrid

Steve Rogerson
May 23, 2018



Lockheed Martin is to supply GridStar lithium energy storage to ComEd, Illinois' largest electric utility. The 2MWh system will be integrated into ComEd's Bronzeville community microgrid project in Chicago.
 
A microgrid is a small power grid with defined boundaries that can operate both when connected to the larger electrical grid and as an island when there's an interruption on the main grid. It draws on distributed energy resources, such as solar power, to serve users within the microgrid footprint.
 
These benefits extend to surrounding communities, with reliable energy allowing better access to food, supplies and public services. Lockheed Martin's GridStar lithium storage system will help ComEd integrate and use multiple energy resources to provide electricity to critical facilities in an emergency when the microgrid is not connected to the main electric grid.
 
"Lockheed Martin is excited to work with ComEd on this innovative project," said Frank Armijo, vice president of Lockheed Martin Energy. "Improving grid resiliency and reliability is crucial to the future of secure, efficient energy supply, and Lockheed Martin is looking forward to collaborating with ComEd to reach this goal."
 
The Bronzeville microgrid will include battery storage and solar power and will be connected to a microgrid on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), creating what is claimed to be the first utility-operated microgrid cluster in the USA. The microgrid is expected to serve more than 1000 users, including critical service providers such as the Chicago Police Department. In an emergency, the microgrid will enable services to continue and demonstrate the capability of solar photo-voltaics (PV) and energy storage within a microgrid.
 
"The use of solar PV and battery energy storage are critical features of the Bronzeville microgrid, and Lockheed Martin's expertise in the integration of renewable energy resources will help ensure this project benefits the community and produces learnings that will inform the evolution of the system serving northern Illinois," said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president for ComEd.
 
The project will allow ComEd to take advantage of work funded by two grants awarded by the US Department of Energy (DoE). This work includes developing and testing a microgrid controller that will control the cluster of the Bronzeville microgrid and the microgrid at IIT. A second DoE grant is focused on studying how large amounts of solar PV and batteries can be integrated into a microgrid.
 
The microgrid is expected to be completed in 2019, and its performance and impact, including a cost benefit analysis, will be studied over approximately ten years. A broad range of metrics has been established to evaluate the project and its ability to impact positively the resilience of the energy system, the Bronzeville community and critical infrastructure. 
 
The GridStar lithium turnkey energy storage systems are compact, easy to install, and scalable from 100kW to multi-MW projects. The architecture consists of modular, purpose-built energy storage units that contain batteries, local controls software and balance-of-system components. The systems are certified to UL9540, a key certification for product safety for energy storage equipment.
 
Lockheed Martin is also developing GridStar Flow, featuring the company's proprietary flow battery technology, for flexible, durable, long-duration energy storage for larger utility-scale projects.
 
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of technology, products and services.
 
With approximately ten million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately four million users across northern Illinois, or 70 per cent of the state's population.