United Power has started looking for partners to develop several microgrids using battery and solar, or other energy resources, throughout its electrical service territory in northern Colorado.
A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local source of supply that is usually attached to a centralized national grid but is able to function independently.
“We have been discussing the viability of a microgrid project for some time now and want to find a partner willing to invest both money and expertise into this pilot venture,” said Dean Hubbuck, the chief energy resource officer for the electrical cooperative that serves 103,000 meters along Colorado’s northern Front Range.
United Power will be soliciting requests for information for the microgrid project through the end of the year and plans to begin work on the project in 2022.
Colordo legislators have also been talking about ways to encourage more develoment of microgrids. Some other utilities have already taken steps, See story: “With wildfire risk rising, utilities bet on solar + storage.”
Hubbuck noted United’s long record of investing in a variety of innovative technologies to learn more about how these systems work and how they can help improve reliability and reduce costs. In 2009, United had Colorado’s first community solar field, Sol Partners. Since then, United has added 84 megawatts of renewable generation, including a landfill methane project, multiple utility scale solar fields, and a 4.5-megawatt Tesla battery storage system.
“This project is the natural evolution of our interest and investment into alternate energy solutions,” said Hubbuck.
United has a 900-square-mile service territory extending from the mountains of Coal Creek and Golden Gate Canyon to the to the farmlands and oil fields around Brighton, Hudson, and Keenesburg.