Weekly Microgrid News — February 1, 2017
Already claiming to be the largest retail wind power investor in Canada, Ikea boosted its clean-energy credentials by purchasing its second wind farm in the province of Alberta. Last week, the global furniture and housewares giant bought up an 88-megawatt wind power installation 80 miles east of Calgary. The Wintering Hills Wind Farm, which has been in operation since 2012, has 55 turbines spread across 24 square miles of Alberta prairies. Ikea claims the power Wintering Hills generates is enough to electrify 54 of its stores, or almost 26,000 Canadian households.
U.S. Senate Democrats included microgrids in the $1 trillion infrastructure blueprint they proposed last week to create 15 million jobs over the next decade. Called Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure, the Senate Democrats’ plan calls for $100 billion to modernize energy infrastructure. It is estimated that up to $70 billion is lost to the U.S. economy each year as a result power failures, and the report highlights a World Economic Forum indicator which showed the US was 24th in the world in terms of electricity reliability.
Powering Alcatraz has always been a challenge, and it’s a big reason why the prison closed in 1963 after 29 years of operation. The island is completely cut off from the mainland with no access to outside power lines. But the iconic prison — situated on a 22-acre site in the middle of the San Francisco Bay — has for five years been home to one of the nation’s largest microgrids. The island is equipped with a solar-diesel hybrid power system. Its solar array sits on top of the main prison building and is hidden from public view to preserve the site’s historical integrity. This $7.1 million project has reduced the island’s fuel consumption by 45% since its 2012 installation. It also saves more than 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year in the process.
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