Lockheed Martin Selected to Provide Gridstar Energy Storage for New ComEd Microgrid Project in Chicago

Defence Industry

CHICAGO, May 15, 2018: Lockheed Martin signed an agreement to supply a GridStar™ Lithium energy storage system to ComEd, Illinois’ largest electric utility. The 2 MWh system will be integrated into ComEd’s Bronzeville community microgrid project in Chicago.


A microgrid is a small power grid with defined boundaries that can operate both when connected to the larger electrical grid and as an “island” when there’s an interruption on the main grid. It draws on distributed energy resources, like solar power, to serve customers within the microgrid footprint. These benefits extend to surrounding communities, with reliable energy allowing better access to food, supplies and public services. Lockheed Martin’s GridStar Lithium storage system will help ComEd integrate and use multiple energy resources to provide electricity to critical facilities in an emergency, when the microgrid is not connected to the main electric grid.

“Lockheed Martin is excited to work with ComEd on this innovative project,” said Frank Armijo, vice president of Lockheed Martin Energy. “Improving grid resiliency and reliability is crucial to the future of secure, efficient energy supply, and Lockheed Martin is looking forward to collaborating with ComEd to reach this goal.”

ComEd’s Bronzeville microgrid will include battery storage and solar power and will be connected to a microgrid on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), creating the first utility-operated microgrid cluster in the nation. ComEd’s microgrid is expected to serve more than 1,000 customers, including critical service providers such as the Chicago Police Department. In an emergency, the microgrid will enable services to continue and demonstrate the cutting-edge capability of solar photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage within a microgrid.

“The use of solar PV and battery energy storage are critical features of the Bronzeville microgrid, and Lockheed Martin’s expertise in the integration of renewable energy resources will help ensure this project benefits the community and produces learnings that will inform the evolution of the system serving northern Illinois,” said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president, Technical Services, ComEd.

big bang

The project will allow ComEd to take full advantage of work funded by two grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This work includes developing and testing a microgrid controller that will control the cluster of the Bronzeville microgrid and the microgrid at IIT. A second DOE grant is focused on studying how large amounts of solar PV and batteries can be integrated into a microgrid. The microgrid is expected to be completed in 2019, and its performance and impact, including a cost benefit analysis, will be studied over approximately 10 years. A broad range of metrics have been established to evaluate the project and its ability to positively impact the resilience of the energy system, the Bronzeville community and critical infrastructure.

Lockheed Martin’s GridStar Lithium turnkey energy storage systems are compact, easy to install, and scalable from 100 kW to multi-MW projects. GridStar system architecture consists of modular, purpose-built energy storage units that contain batteries, local controls software and all required balance-of-system components. The systems are certified to UL 9540 standards, a key certification for product safety for energy storage systems and equipment. Lockheed Martin is also developing GridStarTM Flow, featuring the company’s proprietary flow battery technology, for flexible, durable, long-duration energy storage for larger utility-scale projects. Lockheed Martin Energy is a line of business that delivers comprehensive solutions across the energy industry to include demand response solutions, energy efficiency, energy storage, microgrids, nuclear systems and bioenergy generation.