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Alstom partners with Penn State to establish Microgrid Center of Excellence at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia

Alstom, a leader in smart grid and innovative utility solutions, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with The Pennsylvania State University to establish a global center of excellence for microgrids at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This center, the first of its kind, will help advance the development of microgrid technologies as part of The Navy Yard’s grid modernization project.

“The energy industry is going through a major transformation and there is a significant need and opportunity to improve grid resiliency, security, reliability and efficiency while seamlessly incorporating renewable energy resources,” said Michael Atkinson, President of Alstom Grid North America. “Microgrids will play a key role in the modernization of the energy grid and The Navy Yard project will help advance this technology platform in the future.”

This partnership strengthens the ongoing development and demonstration of microgrid technologies underway at The Navy Yard as part of a $1.2M grant awarded to Alstom by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2014. The Navy Yard is the 1,200-acre former naval shipyard, now transformed into a progressive and modern business campus with more than 145 companies in the office, industrial, and R&D sectors occupying more than 7.0 million square feet of space. By combining distributed renewable resources and energy storage assets portions of the campus will become self-sufficient in generating, managing and storing electricity. The campus will be able to operate independently from the main grid in case of an outage due to extreme weather or other extraordinary events. Alstom will combine its energy management and substation automation technology including advanced systems and controllers to provide “Utility-Customer Nexus in a Box” supporting end-to-end functions. This includes microgrid islanding, synchronization and reconnection, protection, voltage, frequency, power quality management and dispatch and system resiliency.

“Alstom looks forward to collaborating with Penn State, the DOE, PIDC, PECO and others, while working closely with utilities to meet the evolving needs of the industry,” added Michael Atkinson.

Neil Sharkey, Penn State’s vice president for research, said this agreement places the university and its partners at the forefront of the nation’s efforts to develop technologies that will improve energy efficiency. 

“We are working to spur real innovation and job growth, as well as boost the efficiency of current technologies,” Sharkey said. “Energy efficiency is one of the easiest ways to improve our competitiveness and reduce costs.”

Alstom joined representatives from Penn State, PIDC, The Navy Yard’s master developer and Philadelphia's public-private economic development corporation, The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), PECO, regional grid operator PJM, Burns Engineering and the Philadelphia Water Department to celebrate this strategic partnership and share the company’s vision for the future of microgrids.

By establishing this center of excellence Alstom expands its presence in the greater Philadelphia region, which is home to Alstom Grid’s North American headquarters and over 100 employees.