Duke Energy newly operational microgrid protects against outages in isolated NC town

HOT SPRINGS, N.C — Duke Energy Progress has successfully tested its first municipal microgrid and put it online to protect the tiny mountain town of Hot Springs from long power outages.

The town of just over 500 residents has a troubled history of long outages because of its isolated location near the Tennessee border. It is served by a single high-voltage line, 10 miles long, that makes the town vulnerable to outages from winter storms. The outages have frequently been lengthy because there are no good alternatives for rerouting power to the town if that main line is damaged.

That made a microgrid — a small part of the larger grid that has its own generation and storage capacity — an ideal solution to mitigate outages there, Duke says. The Hot Springs operation has a 2-megawatt solar plant that can provide power during an outage with a 4.4-megawatt battery capable of powering the town for up to four hours even if the solar power is not available.

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