Oak Park, IL Microgrid Project Moving Forward

I posted back in 2013, here and here, about the pioneering project to turn more than 100 homes in Oak Park, IL into a resilient microgrid.  The project is moving forward as you can see from this link.

Here is the latest from Oak Park’s Web site.

A project to demonstrate the potential cost savings of electric smart grid technologies in Oak Park took a step closer to implementation Monday, as the Village Board confirmed its commitment to environmental sustainability by hiring an organization credited with creating the national model for smart grid project planning, implementation and management.

Pecan Street Inc., a not-for-profit research organization located at The University of Texas at Austin, was hired to assist in preparing to launch the Oak Park Smart City USA Project, which will link as many as 200 Oak Park homes and residential buildings into a neighborhood smart grid.

“Having the demonstrated knowledge, experience and expertise in getting smart grid projects up and running is a major step toward achieving our goal of keeping Oak Park a leader in environmental initiatives,” said Village President Anan Abu-Taleb. “With Pecan Street’s assistance, we can move closer to implementing a project that will underscore the Village’s commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Smart City USA began in 2010 as a partnership between the Village, the Korea Smart Grid Institute (KSGI) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), with coordination support from the Wagner Institute for Sustainable Energy Research at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The project entails installing equipment such as solar panels with batteries that would allow residences to collect and store energy for personal use and to sell back to the grid during peak times. Property owners would not have to pay any equipment or installation costs. KSGI and state grants will help fund the project.

Plans call for having 100 single-family homes and 100 multiple-family units participate, with the number of multi-unit buildings depending upon the number of units in each. Participants would form a micro-grid featuring two-way information and energy flow. Their aggregated energy data and usage would be managed through a cloud-based network operating center, which may include a public monitoring screen at Village Hall.

More than 300 Oak Park property owners already have expressed an interest in participating via an online form at www.oak-park.us/smartcityusa that gathered basic information to ensure the property was compatible with the program’s basic needs.

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