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Champaign Gets One of North America's Only Microgrid Energy Facilities

Champaign Gets One of North America's Only Microgrid Energy Facilities

Tuesday, Ameren unveiled its newest clean energy infrastructure, adding what they call: microgrids.

Champaign is now one of the only cities in North America to have this technology. The center collects energy from the sun and wind. That energy is then collected in a giant battery or passing it on to customers. If there's no sun or rain, the microgrid switches to using natural gas.

"These have a complex layer of controls that talks to each one of these DERs and figures out if we do have energy,” Ameren Illinois Engineer Tamer Rousan said. “If we do have sun, if we do have wind, and what to do with it. Does it make sense to charge the battery? Does it make sense to pass it on to our customers, and then optimally?"

The $5 million facility includes 2.75 acres of solar panels, a 160-foot wind turbine and two natural gas generators.

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