Novel Waste-to-Energy Microgrid Aims to Provide Resilience – Microgrid Knowledge

16June 2020

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The partners proposing a novel waste-to-energy microgrid for Camden, New Jersey goal to supply strength to a water processing facility, the city and county and local companies.

CCMUA structure, Covanta in background. Picture courtesy CCMUA

Sponsored by the city of Camden, the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA), which operates the water processing facility, and the Camden County Improvement Authority, the Camden Microgrid Project plans to utilize electrical energy produced by the Covanta Energy Recovery Center, a waste-to-energy plant. The project will include solar, storage and natural gas to create a microgrid that will serve the utilities authority, the city, county and local organisations, said Christopher Orlando, county counsel and executive director of the improvement authority.

The task would enable the water processing plant to continue running in an emergency, avoiding the water contamination related to sewage overflow and other issues that the center might face during a power blackout.

The advantages to the county are various, said Orlando. “We think with the microgrid there will be a chance to hook into all the county's crucial operations within the city of Camden and produce resiliency for our operations.”

Decreasing the county's costs

In addition, the project is anticipated to decrease strong waste collection charges for the county– which now pays Covanta about $80 a load for waste. The hope is that because Convanta will see higher electrical energy sales incomes, it will decrease collection fees.

The county likewise would reduce its electrical power costs by buying from the waste-to-energy microgrid, he stated.

Electricity from the waste-to-energy plant is now sold at about 2 cents/kWh to the local energy. Under the plan, the electrical energy would be utilized in the microgrid and sold at greater rates to microgrid users.

The microgrid is anticipated to produce about 10 MW to 15 MW, stated Joseph Sullivan, vice president, energy policy and development for Concord Engineering, one of the task

‘s engineers. The task first began after Superstorm Sandy, when Camden acknowledged the requirement for resilience, particularly at the water processing facility. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities offered grants for resilience tasks, consisting of for this effort. The preliminary expediency research study funded by the board called for a “sustainability loop” between the water processing center and the Covanta waste-to-energy facility.

However the loop wasn't a financially viable option, said Orlando. “We started penciling out the job, and the loop by itself was too pricey. We needed to expand out the microgrid with more users.”

As proposed, the job would be established, funded, developed, owned and run through a partnership with private sector entity.

Sources of microgrid's power

In addition to using electricity from the Covanta Energy Recovery Center, which operates boilers that process about 1,050 tons of solid waste a day and produce 21 MW, the project would likely incorporate solar from an existing 1.8 MW variety at the water processing center, plus from other industrial websites in the location. Excess generation would go to the grid, according to a summary of the job.

Among the most important advantages of the project would be utilizing filtered gray water from water processing center for the Covanta waste-to-energy plant, instead of safe and clean water from the local aquifer.

Another advantage would be making sure that electricity from the Covanta plant is utilized in the local neighborhood, especially organisations in the Port of Camden. Right now, the electricity is sold to the local grid, stated Sullivan.

In addition, power from a regional source would lower system peaks and reduce tension on the grid.

Concord Engineering has actually been discussing the waste-to-energy microgrid with businesses located beside the Covanta waste-to-energy plant.

The Convanta plant produces “Class II” renewable resource from waste, as categorized by the state, stated Sullivan. That implies it's not as clean as “Class I” renewable energy sources such as solar, however qualifies as renewable energy.

The categories belong to the state's vibrant climate modification goals. New Jersey wants 35% of energy sold in the state to come from qualifying renewable energy sources by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

Waste-to-energy microgrid as financial booster

“The tidy, cheaper and resilient power that the microgrid will provide to its offtake clients ought to also show appealing to brand-new services with power quality requires, promoting financial growth and tasks,” said a summary of the task.

The Port of Camden was very first developed throughout World War II to build battleships and other war associated equipment. Those businesses are no longer operating, and the area is looking for methods to revitalize the port.

Not just will the microgrid offer strength and renewable energy to the celebrations involved, it's anticipated to assist boost the economy in the area. Existing plans require the Camden County Improvement Authority to be called a “re-development” entity in the location under state economic advancement laws. That would enable the authority to select a project developer.

“There are significant energy off takers who are likewise significant companies,” stated Sullivan. “If we do this right, we can make this an appealing choice.”

“Will COVID-19 Impact Microgrid Policy Progress? Enjoy the presentation by Concord Engineering's Joseph Sullivan at the Microgrid Knowledge Virtual Conference.

Current power blackouts

Meanwhile, the county recently experienced the obstacles connected with losing power to a wastewater treatment plant, an occasion that highlighted the need for strength.

“The CCMUA lost power recently during awful storms and was down for 6.5 hours,” said Orlando. As an outcome, the town of Woodland's treatment plant overruned. “It was rather a cleanup. With a microgrid in location, you never ever lose power,” Orlando said.

Follow the development of the Camden waste-to-energy microgrid. Register for the complimentary Microgrid Knowledge Newsletter.

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