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The Illinois Institute of Technology has completed Phase I of the Perfect Power System. Based on smart microgrids – smaller, local versions of the grid that carry bulk electricity across the country – Perfect Power features a High-Reliability Distribution System (HRDS) loop design and redundant electricity. The system will allow IIT to eliminate costly outages, minimize power disturbances, moderate an ever-growing electric demand, and curb greenhouse gas emissions. Distribution systems, such as the HRDS, are critical in enabling many of the goals of the Perfect Power project and policymakers in general, such as reduction in greenhouse gases through integration of renewable energy sources and increased reliability.

IIT, which initially developed the project, is partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy, local utility Exelon/ComEd, electricity distribution developer Intelligent Power Solutions, S&C Electric Company, and the Galvin Electricity Initiative. The Perfect Power System is expected to take five years to complete.

Phase I’s high-reliability distribution loop serves Hermann Hall, Alumni Hall, Perlstein Hall, Wishnick Hall and Siegel Hall on IIT’s main campus.  These buildings now have automatic fault detection and distribution information that allows for greatly improved electricity reliability. Phase 1 also provides automation of the north substation.  The automation of the south substation, and the installation of high reliability distribution loops that serve other campus buildings, will be completed in the next four years of the project.

Projections indicate that IIT’s Perfect Power model will pay for itself within five years following its completion. The system will save IIT an estimated $10 million in over 10 years. After the project pays for itself, the university will generate revenue from Perfect Power through more affordable power costs, such as grid infrastructure improvements, allowing it to purchase electricity based on real-time prices rather than the traditional contracted average. IIT will also be able to sell electricity back to local energy markets and employ more efficient energy conservation efforts by integrating local power generation from clean sources, including solar.

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