Spotlight

Heron’s Nest Microgrid Receives Power Player Award from Smart Electric Power Alliance

Heron’s Nest, an innovative residential microgrid project being developed by Brunswick Electric and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives in partnership with The Adams Group, was recently named Grid Integration Power Player of the Year by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). Winners in eight award categories will be recognized during the 2020 SEPA virtual Grid Evolution Summit July 28-30.

Now in their twelfth year, the awards recognize utilities, their industry partners, individuals and other stakeholders working on the front lines of the U.S. energy transition. In particular, the SEPA Power Players Awards focus on projects, initiatives and thought leadership that promote collaborative, innovative and replicable models for change. These industry leaders significantly advance knowledge of or access to clean energy with solutions that benefit electricity consumers and the grid.

“This year’s Power Players winners showcase innovation in clean energy,” said SEPA President & CEO Julia Hamm. “They are spearheading the visionary projects, innovative programs and collaborative partnerships that will accelerate the transition to a clean and modern energy future. As our industry grapples with unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, this leadership is more necessary now than ever.”

“This project has been an excellent opportunity to engage with our membership and meet and exceed their expectations in new ways,” said Josh Winslow, CEO and General Manager of Brunswick Electric. “By coordinating resources on our system–solar, battery, electric vehicle charging, demand response–we are starting to realize some of the value we had awaited including cost savings, resilience and sustainability, and we’re offering a service to our members that has renewable options.”

Once fully operational, Heron’s Nest’s 30-plus homes will be equipped with solar panels, demand response water heaters, smart ecobee programmable thermostats and an option for electric vehicle charging. Energy efficient and sustainable features are incorporated throughout building materials, and a portion of the neighborhood is dedicated to a larger community solar array with battery storage. On a typical day, residents will obtain power from the main grid, supplemented by power from their solar panels and the community solar array. However, should the connection to the main grid become unavailable — after a storm, for example–the residents will benefit from continued solar power as well as the battery backup system. In addition, the demand response thermostats and water heaters can be controlled by Brunswick Electric to make more power available to the system during that time, as well as during periods of high demand.

This year’s winners were selected from a record-breaking competitive field of over 100 nominees and recently announced finalists. More information and a list of all winners is available on SEPA’s website.

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