The University, in collaboration with the City of Boulder and with the support of VC Kang and occupants of the SEEC Complex, is creating an integrated electrical distribution micro-grid, fully island able, which will interconnect SEEC and the adjacent buildings (L-Wing, Wind Tunnel, and Aerospace) to allow for innovation and research on resiliency.  This project will involve additional renewable development to support the grid.  The City of Boulder has obtained a DOE Grant a portion of which will be shared with CU Boulder to perform the design and development of this project.

NREL Partnership

The University in collaboration with the City of Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Labs intends to design, build, and operate a resilient (“hardened”) electrical distribution system that interconnects SEEC and the adjacent buildings (L-Wing, Wind Tunnel, and Aerospace) with the existing CU Boulder 15kV Microgrid. The intent will be to provide an integrated electrical distribution system that includes island able generation systems with renewable energy resources and smart grid components under one control system hierarchy to optimize functionality and resiliency.  The CU Boulder Microgrid will then be utilized as the pilot location for the NREL 2017 Microgrid Controller Challenge winner. 

The smart grid solutions should be able to safely and automatically reconfigure the distribution system after a fault to quickly restore service to segments of the feeder that are not affected by the fault. The system should be capable of determining the available “healthy” source from any available alternate source (e.g. second feeder, distributed energy, electrical storage, etc).

Project Benefits:

  • Less vulnerable to weather related outages
  • Reduce downtime (improve reliability)
  • Integrating renewable energy sources and storage
  • Improve research facility uptime
  • Living Lab to university research and City of Boulder
  • Future gateway to electrification of transportation

Project Outcomes:

An economically viable solution to integrating renewable energy sources, storage, reliability, and resiliency to critical infrastructure.