BlockEnergy made a splash in the pages (and YouTube pages) of Solar Builder during in 2020. The brainchild of Emera Technologies, BlockEnergy is the first utility-owned community microgrid for residential and commercial-scale applications. It’s been tested at military bases and studied by Sandia Labs. The concept is intriguing and closer to wider adoption after receiving UL 9540 fire safety certification for BlockBox, the distributed nanogrid energy storage and control system of its microgrid platform.
The fire safety certification is a significant milestone that allows BlockEnergy to be offered to utilities.
“Less than two years ago we completed our proof of concept for the BlockEnergy microgrid and distributed BlockBox nanogrids at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. Achieving the UL 9540 certification represents a crucial safety milestone in our engineering and development work,” says Rob Bennett, president and CEO of Emera Technologies. “We look forward to completing our first commercial and residential BlockEnergy microgrid installations in Tampa, Florida, and Fairmount Heights, Maryland, in early 2022.”
The BlockEnergy microgrid integrates renewable energy, storage, and smart distributed controls to facilitate easily scalable systems in new residential communities. The BlockBox energy storage and control system, equipped with EnerDel’s lithium-ion batteries, acts as a smart hub for the energy load it serves on the microgrid. BlockBoxes are connected on a common bus at various end-load sources, incorporating the battery management system, controls, and communications for the load, thereby serving as the integration point of various energy sources into the battery.
Microgrids will play a significant role in achieving a renewable and resilient energy future. BlockEnergy’s utility-centric model allows utilities to own and operate distributed energy resources that can be integrated with utility grid infrastructure. The BlockEnergy system provides easy interoperability in both grid-connected mode and island mode, when outages are affecting the broader grid.
“Partnering with Emera Technologies on the BlockBox distributed battery system has been an incredible accomplishment for both teams,” says Bruce Silk, senior director of business development for EnerDel. “The EnerDel team has been impressed by Emera’s focus on safety, which aligns perfectly with our culture of safety and performance. This strategic alliance is a testament to an emerging opportunity as we expand our market and product portfolio.”
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