To help clients realize greater levels of sustainability and to ensure reliable operations, Black & Veatch constructed a microgrid to power the company’s Innovation Pavilion at its World Headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas.
A microgrid is a small-scale electrical grid with its own power system that can operate separate from or alongside the electric grid. Commissioned in 2015, Black & Veatch’s microgrid uses renewable energy, natural gas and battery storage.
Black & Veatch’s microgrid system features three rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panel groups – monocrystalline, polycrystalline and microAC inverter-based polycrystalline – that provide 50 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. The system also includes a 100 kW lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) and a geothermal field with 15 wells drilled 500 feet deep.
“We made this investment to expand our offerings as a proven Engineering, Procurement and Construction provider, particularly given few EPC companies can say the same regarding microgrids and renewable energy. We’re providing our World Headquarters with the same advanced technology we deliver to clients.”
Jon Erickson, Director of New Initiatives, Black & Veatch
These features combine to give Black & Veatch a flexible and sustainable energy system that has reduced its typical energy costs. The microgrid provides enough clean energy to run the entire Innovation Pavilion. In the winter, the system recovers heat from the microturbines for supplemental heating in the main building. The geothermal system is used to cool and heat the Innovation Pavilion as needed. When cloud cover reduces solar energy production, the power held in the BESS can ensure a consistent level of electrical output to the Innovation Pavilion.
Black & Veatch continually monitors its microgrid system through ASSET360™, the company’s robust, cloud-based analytics platform. ASSET360 collects data from the system and monitors both the performance of each component and the overall integrated system in real time. ASSET360 calculates generated energy and usage, and can give insights into energy savings. This information enables Black & Veatch to model different energy generation scenarios for system optimization.
The microgrid has two natural gas-fired microturbines that provide 130 kW of onsite power generation.