The US$ 5 million facility, located at Ameren's Technology Applications Center (TAC) adjacent to the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois, is one of the only utility-scale microgrids in the USA capable of serving live (paying) customer loads on an actual utility distribution feeder. 

Ameren built the microgrid facility to test monitoring and control methods for aggregating clean, renewable energy sources with advanced automation and battery storage. The Ameren microgrid operates at utility-scale voltages, between 4-kilovolts and 34.5-kilovolts, with multiple levels of control. The Ameren microgrid can produce up to 1,475 kilowatts, enough to power more than 190 homes. The leased generation assets located on site include:

  • Northern Power Systems Wind Turbine – 100 kilowatts
  • Yingli Solar Array – 125 kilowatts
  • Caterpillar Natural Gas Generator – 1,000 kilowatts
  • S&C Electric Company Battery Storage – 250 kilowatts

Construction on the Ameren microgrid was completed in December 2016, followed by testing in the first quarter of 2017.