Distributed Generation

A Technology-Driven Disruption of Historic Proportion: 70 Seconds to Explain

It’s no secret that NRG has been vocal and clear about its opinion of what is happening to energy, in the U.S. and the world, from their lead on the Necker Island (home to out-of-the-box billionaire Richard Branson) microgrid project to their new branding focused on sustainability. This quote of NRG CEO David Crane in today’s RenewEconomy, which they dub as the… “Future of energy – and decline of centralised generation – explained […]

Using HOMER to Model Advanced Inverter Technology in Solar-Plus-Storage for Boulder, Colorado

Solar plus storage has been pegged as a game changer for the grid-connected world, offering a mechanism that allows much higher penetrations of renewable energy than simple rooftop PV. Additionally, properly controlled solar plus storage systems can deliver many additional values including demand-response and increased reliability, taking over when the grid is not available. HOMER Energy is part of the team led by Evolution7 Labs that was recently selected as a recipient of […]

Central Solar Parks versus Microgrids: Cost Versus Security and Reliability

One of the biggest debates in today’s “energy society” relates to grid-scale renewable projects versus distributed generation, in particular the role of rooftop residential solar systems. Proponents of large centralized solar parks, such as the recently announced Xcel project in Pueblo, Colorado, point out, very correctly, that economies of scale allow those projects to produce power at about half the cost (excluding incentives) of residential rooftop projects. The typical counter argument, that distributed […]

Strawman Proposal for a Taxonomy of Renewable Penetration Levels

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This strawman taxonomy provides clear distinctions between different levels of renewable penetration.  By basing the criteria on the architecture and control of the power system, it avoids the ambiguity that is inherent in a taxonomy based on the percentage of renewable penetration or contribution.  Not only is the renewable penetration or contribution subject to multiple definitions, but it can vary widely depending on the load shape, characteristics of specific components, and the resource, […]

The Problem with 100% Renewable Energy

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The New York Times reported recently on the work of a group of Stanford researchers, who published a piece in the journal Energy Policy claiming that the main issues with 100% renewables are neither economic nor technical but rather social and political will. Jesse Berst of Smart Grid News countered with a title that included the phrase, “Get real, Stanford.” As experts in the economics of renewable energy, HOMER Energy would like to […]

How to Classify Microgrids: Setting the Stage for a Distributed Generation Energy Future

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In this post by HOMER CEO Dr. Peter Lilienthal, we consider the problem of how to classify microgrids. This is a special entry in our microgrid learning series. Although microgrids are becoming more and more prevalent in both the press and in energy world, there is no common definition of exactly what constitutes a microgrid or how to differentiate among types of microgrids. The term microgrid is not well defined or distinguished from […]

The Microgrid Learning Series: Introduction and Overview

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Welcome to the first in a series of articles about microgrids, written specifically for people interested in clean energy and clean tech but without a background in power system engineering. If you have an interest in renewable energy, and in maximizing how much renewable energy is used throughout the world, then you should have some fundamental understanding of what microgrids are and how they operate. If you’re already wondering, “What the heck is […]

Microgrid Value Propositions

Microgrids are power systems that can operate autonomously using combinations of conventional generation technologies, such as diesel gensets and combined heat and power systems, renewable resources, other new generation technologies, such as micro-turbines and fuel cells, energy storage systems, and load management systems.  There are three distinct microgrid value propositions that are useful for segmenting their market: increasing reliability, reducing fuel consumption, and reducing emissions. Microgrids for reliability Because most electric service outages […]

The rise of renewables

As it becomes incresingly clear that fossil fuels will soon be unable to fulfill the world’s energy needs, the German government and U.S Military are just a few of the major powers taking on renewable energy as the way of the future. Army And Marines Go Fossil Fuel-Free Microgrid Deployment Tracker 2Q11 Germany Plans Renewable Energy Superhighway