Public/private partnership brings “perfect power” to Chicago


Chicago, IL, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — December 4, 2008 – The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Bob Galvin, former CEO of Motorola, have entered into a partnership to develop a “perfect power” system on the Institute’s campus.

The Galvin Electricity Initiative’s ground-breaking approach to electricity distribution and management – the perfect power system – will be built to power the IIT main campus, with the aim of providing a blueprint for eliminating power outages, incorporating renewable energy sources, meeting rising demand for high quality power, and lowering electricity bills for universities, businesses and municipalities throughout the country.

“As an institution that specializes in innovation based on research and technology, IIT is proud to be a pioneer in electricity delivery by applying smart microgrid engineering, like the perfect power system, to our energy infrastructure,” said IIT president John L. Anderson. “IIT’s power distribution system will be a replicable model for confronting the global energy crisis.”

IIT’s perfect power system – the first such system built in the United States – will be a university-owned, campus-wide smart microgrid electricity distribution system that gives electricity alternate routes to flow in case of a disturbance. In this way the university’s power outages will be virtually eliminated by providing more reliable, efficient and secure electricity to the classrooms and research facilities.

Features of IIT’s perfect power system will include self-sustaining electricity infrastructure, intelligent distribution system and system controllers, on-site electricity production, demand response capability, sustainable energy systems and green buildings/complexes, and a technology-ready infrastructure. Once built, the system will reduce the university’s energy expenses through reductions in equipment purchases and increase revenue through demand response and other ancillary services.

Projections indicate that the perfect power model at IIT will pay for itself within five years after it is completed. The system is also expected to generate significant savings for the campus of at least $20 million over 10 years. Following the short payback period, the university will make money from perfect power through cheaper power costs, an ability to sell electricity back to local power markets, an increased ability to conserve energy by reducing its load, and improved integration of local power generation from clean sources, like solar.

The project, developed for IIT with the Galvin Electricity Initiative, is the result of an uncommon partnership among the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), local utility Exelon/ComEd, the entrepreneurial electricity distribution developer Endurant Energy and the Chicago-based global provider of electric power systems, S&C Electric Company.

DOE is investing $7 million in federal funds into the project – one of nine competitively selected to improve efficiency in the nation’s power grid. IIT is investing an additional $5 million in the project. Mohammad Shahidehpour, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at IIT, serves as principal investigator.

Perfect power at IIT is the first of several such microgrid systems that the Galvin Electricity Initiative will design. Perfect power projects are underway in New Mexico and Massachusetts. The Initiative also supports the Illinois Smart Grid Initiative (ISGI), a public-private collaboration of Illinois stakeholder groups examining the benefits for consumers and the economy of a modernized electric grid. ISGI is mapping the policy path necessary to implement smart grid technology.