Eaton to develop microgrid for AEP Ohio to support water infrastructure in Columbus

Eaton AEP Ohio microgrid

Intelligent power management company Eaton is building a microgrid beef up water infrastructure reliability in Ohio’s capitol city.

The company was awarded a contract to help AEP Ohio enhance the resilience and sustainability of critical water infrastructure in Columbus at the Tussing Water Booster Station. The project will establish the city’s first renewable energy microgrid and extend its ability to deliver safe and clean water during extended electric grid outages. The microgrid project is fully commissioned and expected to be energized in Q1 2023.

“This microgrid project is an important precedent that demonstrates how climate-friendly technologies can be applied to modernize critical infrastructure while improving people’s lives, the environment and the bottom line,” said Igor Stamenkovic, VP and general manager for Eaton’s Electrical Engineering Services & Systems division.

Partially funded through AEP Ohio’s Smart City program, the project shows how microgrids can deliver more affordable, sustainable and resilient energy for critical infrastructure. The microgrid also supports the Columbus Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions by 45% and implement five microgrid pilot projects by 2030 to help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Climate change is already impacting quality of life in central Ohio, and the challenges stemming from its very existence will only continue to grow more frequent and more common in the years ahead,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “We have an obligation to strengthen the resiliency of our infrastructure and to meet these challenges head on.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as much as 40% of operating costs for drinking water systems can be for energy. The new microgrid at the Tussing Water Booster Station incorporates 100 kW of onsite solar generation, 440 kWh battery energy storage and Eaton’s intelligent microgrid controls to help offset energy costs and ensure residents receive safe drinking water.

The microgrid system enables the city’s water tower to continue to operate in “island” mode during a grid outage to keep the water flowing. It will also help AEP Ohio support sustainable demand response and balance the grid through intelligent voltage regulation.

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