Eagle Chase Microgrid Draws a Crowd

A crowd stands in front of a large bank of Tesla batteries on the site of the Eagle Chase microgrid

An electric cooperative microgrid is at the heart of one of North Carolina’s first resilient neighborhoods. To showcase the ground-breaking project, Wake Electric recently welcomed community leaders, members and local home buyers to tour the new Eagle Chase neighborhood in Youngsville.

Close to 50 guests joined cooperative leaders to learn how the co-op partnered with Winslow Homes to provide enhanced electric service reliability and resiliency with local power resources like generators, energy storage and water heater controls, while also reducing peak electricity costs.

“Resiliency is really the word that comes to mind when I think of Eagle Chase,” said Don Bowman, vice-president of engineering & operations for Wake Electric. “Between the generator and the Tesla battery, there is enough power to energize the neighborhood for 36 hours. Our members in this community should rarely, if ever, experience a power outage. It’s just one more thing that really makes this neighborhood special.”

If severe weather or another event disrupts power from the grid to Eagle Chase, the components of the microgrid will automatically turn on, meaning power outages will last only a few seconds for neighborhood residents. When the weather is good and the microgrid is not needed to power to homes, the co-op can utilize the components to provide power to the main grid, increasing reliability and helping save money for all Wake Electric members.

Following testing of components, the microgrid is now fully operational. Residents have moved into several homes, and construction continues on additional properties.

As an additional benefit for residents, Wake Electric is offering a rebate for the installation of electric water heaters in each house, and the garage of each home will also be pre-wired for electric vehicle charging.

The Eagle Chase microgrid project recently received the 2020 Cleantech Community Award from the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster for driving innovation and deployment in sustainable energy technologies.