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eLab Accelerator 2017

Charlotte Public Safety Campus Microgrid

Project Objective

1) To accelerate the Charlotte Public Safety Campus Microgrid project.
2) Create a repeatable model and framework for other critical facilities to implement microgrids in the future.

Team Members


  • Adam Nygaard, Duke Energy, Business Development for Distributed Energy Technologies

  • Kim Smith, Duke Energy, Regulatory Affairs Manager

  • Rob Phocas, City of Charlotte, Sustainability Director

  • Laurie Sickles, City of Charlotte, Energy & Property Management

  • Jennifer Weiss, SACE, Energy Efficiency (and Energy Storage) Policy Manager

  • Ben Edgar, Black & Veatch, Business Development

Project Description

The Charlotte Public Safety Campus microgrid is a proposed solar plus storage project located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Public Safety Campus is home to the Fire Department Headquarters, Fire Department Logistics, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Fire Department Arson Investigation, and a to-be-constructed Joint Communication Center, which will provide critical 911 and communications services during emergencies. The proposed microgrid project will be capable of islanding the Public Safety Campus when the bulk grid is unavailable and will provide bulk grid services during normal grid operations.

Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

A feasibility study was completed in August 2016. Additional technical evaluation and scoping has occurred leading up to a scoping meeting in March 2017 with the Fire Department, Police Department, and City of Charlotte representatives. Information is currently being gathered to continue technical design and analysis.

Project Background Information

Duke Energy is developing and exploring opportunities to deploy energy storage systems on our electric power system. Grid-connected Microgrids provide the dual benefit of creating the ability to serve a localized customer or region of the grid during an outage event, along with the ability to act as a system resource for the benefit of all Duke customers. The Charlotte Public Safety Campus is part of Charlotte’s North End Smart District.

Post-Accelerator Outcomes

At Accelerator, the team focused on identifying key stakeholders in the project and designing a business model to satisfy their needs. While the City of Charlotte and Duke Energy were the main entities directly involved in the project, the team recognized the primary importance of providing benefits to general ratepayers since Duke Energy is planning to own and operate the microgrid. The project is intended to be the first of many similar projects that will deploy battery storage across Duke Energy’s system to provide cost-effective grid services and enable greater integration of renewable energy.

As a result, the business model that the team created was focused on delivering maximum benefits to the grid as a whole, with local reliability benefits serving as a secondary focus. In addition to fleshing out a viable business model focused on ratepayer benefit, the team formulated a timeline for doing the necessary analysis and engaging the right decision makers to move the project forward. While there is still significant work to be done, the team developed a solid plan and common understanding of what needs to be accomplished to make the microgrid project a success.