Local Co-op Microgrids Recognized as Industry Leaders
Projects in Brunswick and Harnett counties are awarded for innovation
Two microgrid projects developed by electric cooperatives in North Carolina have been recognized as innovative leaders in the energy industry. One, at Butler Farms in Harnett County, applies the technology at a farm. The other, Heron’s Nest in Brunswick County, is the state’s first residential microgrid.
Butler Farms microgrid
The Butler Farms microgrid — developed by South River EMC, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and Butler Farms, a sustainability-focused hog farm — recently received a Top Project of the Year Award in the Environment + Energy Leader Awards program.
The farm’s microgrid integrates renewable biogas, solar generation, energy storage and other components to produce electricity that can be used to power the farm and nearby homes.
“Models like this could help [small farmers] diversify and supplement geographies/townships with alternatives for environmental improvement,” one judge said.
The Environment + Energy Leader Awards recognize excellence in products and services that provide companies with energy and environmental benefits, and in projects implemented by companies that improved environmental or energy management and increased the bottom line.
Heron’s Nest microgrid
In Shallotte, the Heron’s Nest neighborhood was recently recognized as a “Power Player” and presented with the Grid Integration Power Player of the Year award by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).
A collaboration between Brunswick Electric and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, the residential microgrid utilizes a 62-kilowatt (kW) community solar array, a 255-kilowatt hour battery energy storage system, and components in the homes such as smart thermostats, water heater controllers and 3-kW residential solar panels.
“This year’s Power Players winners showcase innovation in clean energy,” said SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. “They are spearheading the visionary projects, innovative programs, and collaborative partnerships that will accelerate the transition to a clean and modern energy future.”
The Power Players awards recognize those who have demonstrated unique innovation and leadership in efforts to integrate clean energy and distributed energy resources into the grid to help achieve carbon reduction and clean energy goals, and meet the needs of their electricity consumers.
What is a microgrid?
A microgrid is made up of several electric grid components, interconnected at a specific site. By coordinating local components, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives can achieve increased reliability, resilience and environmental benefits, and manage the grid in new ways.
Your Friendly, Neighborhood Microgrid
Advanced grid tech is cropping up on co-op lines across the state. Learn more about each part of the microgrid with our interative illustration.
Microgrids across North Carolina