Powering Strong Communities

Construction to start soon on collaborative microgrid project between Chattanooga, EPB

Chattanooga, Tenn., Mayor Andy Berke, EPB President and CEO David Wade, Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy, and Chattanooga Fire Chief Phil Hyman on April 15 confirmed that construction would soon begin on a new collaborative microgrid project between the City of Chattanooga and EPB.

The project aims to increase resilience and redundancy of power supply to the city’s public safety agencies via on-site solar arrays, traditional backup generation, battery storage and a microgrid controller.

The project start date is April 28, 2021 and the scheduled completion date is October 30, 2021.

While the Tennessee Valley Authority and EPB “already provide some of the greatest energy reliability in the country, an ever-increasing potential for natural and man-made disruptions requires investment in additional fortification for our most critical services,” an April 15 news release related to the "Power to Protect" microgrid project said.

The total project cost is approximately $1.8 million, with $732,000 coming from EPB in the form of a battery and microgrid controller and circuit modifications. The balance will be funded by the City of Chattanooga's capital budget.

Wade said that the project is a next-generation microgrid that benefits the whole community by adding additional resilience to police and fire services while also helping to keep the overall cost of electricity a bit lower for all customers.

“What sets this microgrid apart is that on-site solar generation, high-capacity battery storage and diesel generators are fully integrated with Chattanooga’s advanced smart grid infrastructure which has the ability to automatically re-route power around damaged power facilities to reduce the incidence of outages,” said Wade. “In addition to this extra layer of resiliency for our community’s emergency services, we will be able to utilize this microgrid as a resource to help reduce peak demand charges which keeps costs lower for all of our customers.”

Project specifications include 430-kilowatts (kW) total solar generation once complete, a 175-kW diesel generator, a 100-kW natural gas generator, 275-kW/1100-kWh battery storage, microgrid controller and interconnection.