Black & Veatch Microgrid System Begins Providing Power to World Headquarters | Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch Microgrid System Begins Providing Power to World Headquarters

The microgrid unites natural gas, rooftop solar, geothermal and battery storage

Overland Park, Kansas (28 April 2015) - Black & Veatch today celebrated the commissioning of a new microgrid system that provides power to its World Headquarters. Featuring a range of renewable energy resources and natural gas power, the system allows the company to evaluate microgrid technologies. 

Microgrids are a key area of interest for many companies and municipalities seeking to lower their carbon footprint and enhance electrical power supply resiliency. The new system, which powers the Rodman Innovation Pavilion, is the first microgrid powering a commercial building in Kansas.

The system uses a combination of natural gas, solar energy, geothermal and battery storage. It can operate as an independent power source or in support of the traditional electric grid adding resiliency to the building and lowering energy costs. The microgrid provides enough clean energy to run the entire Innovation Pavilion. Area city and state officials as well as regional electric utility leaders toured the microgrid system today.

“We are excited to launch this new technology that highlights the broad range of expertise we have within Black & Veatch,” said Steve Edwards, President and CEO. “It also demonstrates the strong level of support and interest in the design from our professionals who are working on sustainable solutions around the world.”

Black & Veatch’s system includes two natural gas-fired microturbines that deliver onsite electrical power generation. During winter months, heat is recovered from the microturbines to support heating for the World Headquarters, the largest office building in Kansas. A geothermal heat pump system with 15 wells drilled 500 feet deep helps heat and cool the Pavilion. The microgrid system also uses battery energy storage to capture energy from generation resources and deliver electricity to the World Headquarters during times of high electric demand, such as in the summer months. 

To learn more about the complex interactions of the different energy technologies, Black & Veatch guests can interact with a large screen display that shows the microgrid operations in real time. The microgrid is continually monitored by ASSET360™, Black & Veatch’s cloud based analytics platform. It collects data from the system and monitors the performance of each component based on factors like solar radiation, cloud cover, outside temperature and more. It calculates how much energy is being generated and used in the building. This provides the company’s energy experts with insights on ways to improve system operations.

“The new microgrid allows Black & Veatch to demonstrate technologies that have strong interest from global clients wanting some combination of greater electric resiliency, control and sustainability.” 

Dean Oskvig, President and CEO of Black & Veatch’s energy business

“Integrating and operating these technologies first hand helps us more effectively serve clients pursuing those objectives. Over time, we can demonstrate how such systems can successfully integrate into the grid.”

Editor’s Notes:

  • The microgrid is capable of producing about 1,300 megawatt hours of power annually.   
  • The microgrid has three rooftop solar photovoltaic panel groups—monocrystalline, polycrystalline and AC modules that use micro inverters. They provide 50 kilowatts (kW) of electricity at their peak output.
  • The two natural gas-fired microturbines deliver 130 kW of power generation. A 100 kWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system is used.
  • The microgrid system can be islanded from the external electric grid and helps ensure electric supplies in the event of a power outage.
  • The microgrid also provides power to a portion of the 45 electric vehicle charging stations at the World Headquarters.
  • A meteorological station on the building collects information on PV module temperature conditions that affect solar panel output. It also provides information on solar radiation, wind speed and precipitation.
  • Link to Microgrid Video:

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