Smart Grid

New Hampshire Electric Co-op’s New Demand Response Program Uses Smart-grid Technology

NHEC Go Beyond the Peak logo

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative expects its new Peak Days, Peak Planner and Peak Plus programs will reduce energy costs and add value to the power and energy products and services it provides by lowering or shifting consumer energy consumption from peak to non-peak periods of the day.

Webinar: Batteries and the Grid, What’s all the fuss? Costing and modeling approaches with HOMER

This free webinar featured HOMER Energy CEO Dr. Peter Lilienthal joined by Rocky Mountain Institute Senior Associates Bodhi Rader and Devi Glick. The webinar reviewed the implications of the recent RMI/HOMER Energy report: The Economics of Load Defection:How grid-connected solar-plus-battery systems will compete with traditional electric service, why it matters, and possible paths forward. (CLICK HERE to download the Executive Summary or complete report) The participants discussed the analyses that were done to […]

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 […]

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

Abstract Background Vector

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


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 […]

Clean micro-grid technologies are going to change the utility industry

Large electric grids like we have in North America are awe-inspiring.  They are undoubtedly the most complex machines ever built.  People don’t usually think of them as a machine, but really they are a set of components connected by wires just like any electronic machine.  Only in this case it spans millions of square miles and contains billions of other machines, namely every other machine or appliance that is plugged into the grid.  […]

The First True Smart Grids are Being Built Today – in Alaska

The first true “smart grids” are already being built, but they aren’t where you would expect.  It is not Boulder Colorado’s much-hyped SmartGridCity, built by Xcel at a cost of $140 million dollars.  That is little more than a collection of smart meters and a fiber optic network. If you want to see a smart grid today with distributed load control, energy storage, and extremely high penetrations of renewable power you need to […]

Clean, Smart Micro-grids

Despite recent experiments with deregulation, the current top-down utility paradigm has remained essentially unchanged for a century. Large central station generators provide an undifferentiated power product over a high voltage transmission system. Consumer needs are not undifferentiated in two important ways. Electric applications vary dramatically in terms of the value of reliability. Consumers vary dramatically in their willingness to pay to reduce the environmental impact of their energy consumption. Utilities have started to […]

Why Isolated Utilities should be the Test Bed for Smart Grids

There is a lot of optimism about the potential for the Smart Grid. That optimism is justified because communication and control technologies have advanced tremendously in the last decade. Also, the carbon reduction goals will require more renewables, more distributed power, and more load management. Each of those innovations will require more intelligence in the way we manage the grid. Unfortunately, adapting the current utility industry to these changes is an enormous challenge. […]

HOMER Users are Creating a New Energy Future

If the world is going to transition to a sustainable energy future, then renewable energy must eventually supply more than a 20% share of the power sector. However, large utility companies are very frank about their lack of understanding of how to integrate solar and wind power at those higher levels. That is why they continue to propose large coal plants. Utility systems can indeed have much higher shares of renewable power, as […]