XENDEE, Idaho National Lab deploy first intermunicipal Microgrid in Puerto Rico

March 25, 2022
The Mircorred system will include solar and energy storage. It will be the first intermunicipal microgrid in Puerto Rico to deliver electricity to several towns.

XENDEE Corporation and the Net-Zero Microgrid Program of the Idaho National Laboratory has provided support to the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña (Hydroelectric Cooperative of the Mountain) to deploy a zero-carbon microgrid in Puerto Rico. 

INL provided the input data for the microgrid, including loads, substation capabilities, existing generation assets and distribution cables. Then, INL and the XENDEE team populated the microgrid design platform with this data to design the energy system and devise investment strategies based on different organizational goals, like resiliency, CO2 emissions reduction and cost savings.

The modelling and analysis of the project was funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Microgrid Program.

The team has devised eight investment strategies, with a blend of technologies and an upgrade to the hydroelectric power plants that may increase output from the microgrid to 50 MW. It will be the first intermunicipal microgrid in Puerto Rico to supply electricity to multiple towns.

“Microrred de la Montaña is not only the first intermunicipal microgrid in Puerto Rico, but also an exemplar Net-zero Carbon Microgrid for communities on the front lines of climate change,” said Timothy McJunkin, Technical Director of the NZM Program at INL. “This project stands out as a unique opportunity to showcase the integration of multiple non-greenhouse emitting energy sources to increase reliability and resilience and show how NZMs can be the source of economic development and prosperity for Puerto Rico and other disadvantaged communities across the U.S.”

More on Puerto Rico and the Idaho National Laboratory

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Enel X, Eaton partner on Microgrid development in Puerto Rico

See EnergyTech's full coverage of the Microgrid role in the C&I and Mission-Critical Energy Transitions

The devised strategies will enable Microrred de la Montaña to help the community reduce energy costs by at least 20% using solar PV and batteries. The firms can also integrate hydroelectric technologies and boost cost savings further to as much as 60%. Further increase in hydroelectric capacity will enable Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña to sell energy to the Puerto Rican power grid for additional revenue. The model will not enable the cooperative to meet its needs in the existing community but also enable it to sell affordable, reliable and sustainable power back to the grid.

“Increasingly dangerous climate events have been devastating to Puerto Rico’s local economy and energy infrastructure,” C. P. Smith, Executive Director of the Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de La Montaña, said. “By using this new resilient energy system, Puerto Rico’s mountain regions can offer greater stability for businesses and the community while also mitigating the consequences of the next major climate event including regional economic paralysis and the mass exodus of residents during recovery periods. This added level of security and local control can immediately impact resilience and sustainability in the region while also enticing investment from both the public and private sector with reliable clean energy at attractive rates.”

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About the Author

EnergyTech Staff

Rod Walton is senior editor for EnergyTech.com. He has spent 14 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist.

Walton formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

He can be reached at [email protected]

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.