Unlike the first phase, ComEd isn’t legally obligated to use renewables, but the company says it will seriously consider them as it reviews proposals. Stakeholders including clean energy and community groups are watching closely as ComEd begins the second phase of a microgrid pilot project in Chicago. The Illinois utility is seeking proposals from developers for 7 megawatts of generation capacity to expand its Bronzeville community microgrid. The expansion will nearly triple the test project’s grid load. The first phase served about 1,000 residences, businesses and institutions, according to ComEd.
The Illinois utility recently installed five off-grid streetlights at two public schools in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.
Questions remain about its grid impact and usefulness, but some say the pilot could be a model for a larger program.
Almost seven years after Chicago’s two coal plants closed, the plant sites are significant factors in City Council races in the Feb. 26 election.
Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act included funding for solar training more accessible to lower-income residents.