Mesa del Sol Unveils First Smart Grid in the Nation

Partnership between NEDO of Japan and U.S. Partners

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Albuquerque, NM (PRWEB) May 17, 2012

Mesa del Sol, Albuquerque’s visionary mixed-use, master planned community in the southern part of the city, once again made history when it unveiled its new Smart Grid System – the first of its kind in the nation. The Smart Grid System, in conjunction with the PNM Prosperity Energy Storage Project,the nation’s first solar storage facility that is fully integrated into a utility’s power grid, is a showcase for future smart grid projects. The project objective is to innovate Smart Grid Controls to overcome the challenges presented by the intermittency associated with renewable energy sources.

The newly installed microgrid uses on-site solar, fuel cell, natural gas and back-up battery storage to power the 78,000 square foot Aperture Center at Mesa del Sol.

Partnering with Mesa del Sol on the Smart Grid is Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), PNM, Sandia National Laboratories, The University of New Mexico and 9 Major Japanese companies including Shimizu Corporation. The system was unveiled today with VIPs and dignitaries on hand.

NEDO is investing $22 million in the smart grid. In addition to funding to construct the system, NEDO will monitor and test the system for the next two years. Once complete, the entire project will be turned over to the University of New Mexico’s Center for Emerging Energy Technologies for continued research and smart grid development.

The Aperture Center will require 400 kilowatts of electricity during its peak times. The smart grid will manage energy generation sources, the electrical grid and energy storage sourcesin a sustainable way. To meet the Aperture Center’s needs, NEDO installed a 50 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system, an 80 kilowatt fuel cell, a 240 kilowatt natural gas powered generator and a 160 kilowatt/hour battery storage system as well as a state-of-the-art building energy management system and sensors for controlling energy use inside the building.

“The new smart grid has a building management system that is automated and manages the electric supply and distribution between our on-site generation sources, energy storage and PNM’s power grid,” explained Manny Barerra, Mesa del Sol’s Director of Engineering.

“The Smart Grid at the Aperture Center is another example of Mesa del Sol walking its talk,” said Mesa del Sol Vice President of Development Chris Anderson. ‘We have built this community to be sustainable at every level. It’s not an after thought but a key facet of everything we do.”

Backround on the Smart Grid Project
With the global population to exceed 9 billion in 2050, of which 70% are estimated to live in an urban environment, the building of smart communities with reduced energy and water needs is essential for a sustainable society. Energy use is on the increase, and sooner or later we need to find a way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and increase the use of more sustainable sources of energy such as renewables, while maximizing energy efficiency to make the most of the energy that we do use.
Integration of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy into the power grid pose challenges to the power grid as it is today, due to their intermittent nature (i.e. when the sun goes down, there is no solar power; when the wind stops blowing there is no wind energy). Controlling demand in response to availability of energy, presents one possible way to integrate more renewable energy into the grid while maintaining reliability.

The New Mexico NEDO project is a collaborative endeavor between NEDO and the State of New Mexico government, National Laboratories (Los Alamos and Sandia) and other partners based on an MOU signed between the State Government and NEDO in August 2009, and a series of MOUs between NEDO and project partners (Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Labs, PNM, Mesa del Sol, County of Los Alamos and University of New Mexico) signed in 2010 and 2011. NEDO is participating in two (Los Alamos and Albuquerque) of the five smart grid projects which formed the New Mexico Green Grid Initiative.

Project Objective
With the objective of increasing renewables and enhancing energy efficiency, the project plans to demonstrate (1) a smart building with the ability to provide demand response (absorption of fluctuation of solar power and islanding capability in the case of emergencies), (2) control of a distribution feeder with high solar penetration using batteries and demand response, and (3) a smart house as a constituting element of a smart community (solar generation forecast and demand response using demand response signals).

In the Albuquerque Mesa del Sol site, we demonstrate (1) out of the above three demonstrations. Based on requests by the utility, we may shift the peak demand, in cases may feed power back into the grid, and in emergency situations operate on an islanding mode (managing demand/supply in the micro-grid and maintaining voltage/frequency) cut off from the general grid.
We consider that this demonstration presents a state-of-the-art example of a working micro-grid.

About Mesa del Sol
Mesa del Sol is a 12,900-acre mixed-use district located on Albuquerque’s south mesa. By combining job creation and sustainable urban community planning, Mesa del Sol will reflect a balance of environmental resources, economic objectives and social amenities in a community that is forward-looking with a highly defined sense of place. Mesa del Sol is a model sustainable community with plans to incorporate 18 million square feet of office, industrial, and retail space with 4,400 acres for residential development of 37,000 homes and supporting retail use. Mesa Del Sol incentivizes builders to exceed sustainability goals, and the master-plan includes the development of a solar-ready strategy for both residential and commercial elements and all commercial buildings are expected to be LEED Certified.

Mesa del Sol is a true public/private partnership. In addition to Forest City Covington, NM, LLC, Mesa del Sol is being developed in conjunction with other partners, including the New Mexico State Land Office, the University of New Mexico, with the support of the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and the State of New Mexico.

About Forest City Covington
Forest City Covington NM, LLC is a joint venture between Forest City NM, LLC and Covington NM, LLC. Forest City NM, LLC is a subsidiary of Forest City Enterprises, Inc., an NYSE-listed national real estate company with $11.8 billion in total assets. Covington Capital and its affiliate companies currently own more than 9 million square feet of commercial/industrial space and are actively developing more than 17,000 acres of land in the Western United States.


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