One of Nation’s Largest NatGas Microgrids Coming to Philly Navy Yard

We’re starting to see more and more news about natural gas-fired microgrids, used for “peaking”. Microgrids are small electric generating plants, most often powered by natural gas. They usually produce a few megawatts of electricity. The concept of “peaking” means that during times of high electricity demand, these small microgrids kick on and produce electricity to help meet the demand. Although New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t want fracking in the Empire State, he’s in the midst of paying for 11 microgrids throughout the state–all of them using natural gas, mostly fracked gas from Pennsylvania (see NY Building Not Just One, but Eleven (!) NatGas-Fired Micogrids). These microgrids are an important new market for Marcellus/Utica Shale gas. So we perked up when we spotted a story about and press release from Ameresco, headquartered in Massachusetts, that is building a new 6-megawatt microgrid for peaking electricity at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It will, according to Ameresco, “anchor one of the largest private microgrids in the United States.” Although the announcement doesn’t say, we’re 99.99% sure the gas that will feed it will come from PA’s Marcellus Shale. In addition to the microgrid in Philly, Ameresco also announced a contract in northeast PA, with Luzerne Community College (Wilkes-Barre) to replace 21 outdated electric-resistance heating Roof Top Units (RTU), Heating and Ventilation Units (H&V), and Air Handling Units (AHU) with 21 new, natural gas-fired RTU’s and AHU’s. Yep, you read that right–dumping electric units for natgas units. How “cool” is that? (Pun intended)…

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