Grand Opening of NEDO Aperture Center Microgrid

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Aperture Center in Mesa del Sol, Albuquerque, New Mexico will be the test site for a commercial microgrid. The project is a collaborative effort between U.S. and Japan. It is being carried out by NEDO, along with the State of New Mexico, Mesa del Sol, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Sandia and Los Alamos national labs, and Los Alamos County.

This demonstration is bringing Japanese technology to demonstrate how to integrate multiple generation sources including renewable energy resources along with multiple storage sources, and how they can be optimized to interact with the building load. A number of Japanese companies are participating in the project, including Toshiba, Sharp, Fuji Electric, Tokyo Gas, and Mitsubishi. Each of the Japanese companies has specific research they want to do in this project. The Japanese have funneled about $30 million statewide into many smart grid projects in New Mexico, including this project at the Aperture Center. The local utility company is only involved in order to ensure that it interconnects and operates safely within the distribution grid.

The system comprises a 50 kW solar PV system mounted on a shade structure over a parking lot and utility yard, currently under construction, that will contain an 80 kW fuel cell, a 240 kW natural gas-powered generator, a lead-acid storage battery power system, and hot and cold thermal storage. All parts will be interconnected through a control room and building management system in the Aperture Center. The project is on schedule to be up and running in mid to late spring of 2012.