Sunrise brief: Michigan aims to power state buildings with renewables and solar by 2025


State of Michigan office buildings and other facilities will run on renewable energy by 2025, according to a new goal set by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The state will work with DTE, Consumers Energy, and the Lansing Board of Water & Light to buy renewable energy. Doing so would expand each utility’s renewable energy portfolio, rather than buying existing renewable power.

The state is also launching an interagency team to develop a plan to generate solar power on state-owned land and buildings.

Near net-zero microgrid

Ozop Energy Solutions said it will supply equipment to support a near net-zero microgrid at a Maryland commercial office location.

The company will supply energy generation, storage, and switchgear equipment. It is the first of several projects the company said it will supply equipment to in the near future.

The microgrid project includes a 700 kW battery storage system, a 350 kW natural gas generator, a 65 kW solar photovoltaic system, two electric vehicle charging stations, a retrofit of the interior lighting and plug loads, high efficiency motor replacements, and new variable frequency drives.

When fully operational, the combined energy efficiency improvements are expected to save more than $4 million over the project’s 20+ year life as well as 1.3 million kWh annually, reducing the building’s overall carbon footprint. The project will enable the building to remain operational in the event of a grid failure and also take part in demand response programs.

Hot testing for new nuke

On the zero-carbon front, Georgia Power said that hot functional testing has begun for Vogtle Unit 3, one of two new multi-billion-dollar nuclear units the utility is building in Georgia. The utility said the testing marks the last series of major tests ahead of initial fuel load.

Hot functional testing verifies the operation of reactor components and systems and confirms the reactor is ready for fuel load. As part of the testing, the site team will begin running Unit 3 plant systems without nuclear fuel and advance through the testing process towards reaching normal operating pressure and temperature.

Over the next several weeks, operators will use heat generated by the unit’s four reactor coolant pumps to raise the temperature and pressure of plant systems to normal operating levels. The unit’s main turbine then will be raised to normal operating speed using steam from the plant. Hot functional testing is expected to take six to eight weeks.

The utility also said that all modules for both Vogtle Unit 3 and Unit 4 have been set. A water tank was lifted into place on top of the Unit 4 containment vessel and shield building roof. That placement also marked the last major crane lift at the project site. The tank will hold 750,000 gallons of water that may be released in the event of an emergency to help cool the reactor.

Powin high-voltage battery

Powin announced a new product –Stack360E — marking its entry into the high-voltage battery energy storage market.

The 1500Vdc Stack360E is a complement to Powin’s 1000Vdc Stack230E, both of which are intended for energy applications of three-hours or longer. The move to a higher operating voltage increases the general power rating of compatible inverters, lowering overall balance of plant costs.

The company said the Stack360E uses a third-generation module design which, compared to the previous generation, provides 10% more energy in the same footprint, reduces cell temperature variance by 50%, and can be swapped in-field 80% faster.

The Stack360E will begin mass production early in the third quarter, with the first deliveries scheduled to take place later in the same quarter. Powin said it has secured more than 500 MWh in contracted orders for the Stack360E.

Based in Oregon, Powin has built over 600 MWh of systems, supporting 54 projects in 10 states and 8 countries.

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