Georgia Tech Celebrates Opening of New Energy Project in Midtown Atlanta
By Ayana Isles | June 17, 2021 • Atlanta, GA
Georgia Tech and Georgia Power celebrated the opening of a 1.4-megawatt microgrid in Tech Square with a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, June 16. The microgrid is located at Spring and Fifth Streets in Atlanta. This project, made possible through a longstanding partnership between Georgia Power and Georgia Tech, will help power the larger local grid in Midtown, while minimizing environmental impact.
Microgrids are self-contained power systems, co-located with the facilities they serve, that include generation resources, storage systems, and energy management systems. The Tech Square Microgrid, which was approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission, is being used to evaluate how a microgrid can effectively integrate into and operate as part of the overall electrical grid. The facility will not only provide clean power to Midtown, but it will also serve as a living laboratory in which Georgia Tech, industry, and government researchers will work collaboratively to create the next generation of clean energy solutions.
“Georgia Tech is committed to addressing the most consequential challenges of our time,” said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. “That involves advancing science and technology, developing leaders who can create and deploy new solutions, and leading by example with our own practices. This microgrid is a great illustration of the latter. In our partnership with Georgia Power and the Georgia Public Service Commission, we will be developing and adopting some of the most advanced, efficient, and responsible energy solutions available, in the hope we can serve as an example for others.”
The microgrid will provide Georgia Power with insight into how smart energy management systems, such as the one installed at the Coda data center, can interact with the grid to achieve optimal energy use. In addition, it will provide teaching and learning opportunities for Georgia Tech professors and students.
“The Tech Square Microgrid is a proven innovative project that will help us better understand microgrids to help service our customers. It brings energy storage and data front and center for research. The microgrid’s distributed energy resources are vital to enhancing grid resiliency and bringing sustainable energy solutions to Georgia’s communities,” said Chris Womack, chairman, president, and CEO of Georgia Power. “Georgia Tech is one of the nation’s leading research institutions and has been an integral partner in allowing their students and teachers to learn how these systems will interact not only with our grid but also with the Coda building on the Georgia Tech campus. It’s by collectively working together through projects like this that we will build a brighter energy future for our state.”
The installation includes fuel cells, battery storage, diesel generators, and a natural gas generator, and it is adaptive to new and additional distributed energy resources. It is designed to also accommodate microturbines, solar panels, and electric vehicle chargers in the future. All components will be placed on a platform and obscured from view with 7-foot-high fencing and gate access along Williams Street. The co-branded (Georgia Tech and Georgia Power) fencing will have a mural designed and commissioned by Atlanta-based artist George F. Baker III, to be finished later this year.