Microgrid Automation at North Carolina VA Medical Center Saves Time, Money, Headaches

The power system at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury, NC, was struggling. The equipment was old, they were running out of capacity, and — worst of all — it was increasingly unreliable. Wiley|Wilson worked with the VA to design a new electrical distribution system that:
• increased reliability and resiliency
• replaced aging infrastructure
• added system capacity
• improved current on-site generation operations
• planned for future upgrades to on-site generation
• lowered and controlled costs

“We considered several options for upgrading the Medical Center’s system,” explained Steve Bowman, PE, Senior Vice President, Energy & MEP Group Leader. “The selected design is an automated 12.47kV loop distribution system with an option for future generation capable of powering the entire campus. We increased the substation capacity and upped the secondary voltage from 4kV to 12kV.”

The upgraded system also includes automation features like load shed/load add capabilities and outage restoration. “These design features increase the system’s reliability, which gives the entire design added value for the VA Medical Center,” Steve added.

Other benefits of the upgrade include:
• Lower operational costs due to consolidated services
• Reduced initial costs via the loop configuration
• Improved dependability and resiliency

Recently Steve gave a detailed discussion on Salisbury’s new microgrid at IDEA’s Microgrid 2017 conference. His presentation covered the design process, how initial and ongoing considerations were handled, why automation was a focus, and the different benefits the final design provided.