Weekly Microgrid News from HOMER Energy — May 18, 2017
Solar microgrids in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state did little to improve household incomes, encourage business ownership, or reduce the long hours that people spend on daily household work, a new study finds. According to the year-long, randomized survey of nearly 1,300 households in 81 non-electrified rural communities, villagers did buy less kerosene for their lamps, since they could flip on light bulbs at night. But their lives were otherwise unchanged, showing that local officials, energy companies, and NGOs alike need to address other pressing issues — such as underfunded schools or dismal job prospects — before rural electrification can really lift people out of poverty.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto doesn’t just want to create a microgrid — he wants to create a grid of microgrids. The Steel City might seem like an unlikely place to pioneer the new technology, but a panel meeting last week sees a perfect fit.
“The idea of having an energy plant that is 100 miles away producing energy to make your toast would be left in the 19th century, where it was started,” the mayor said at the event, which was hosted by Harvard Business Review, Siemens, and 100 Resilient Cities.
Cumbria’s Westlakes Science & Technology Park has launched a tender to develop a smart microgrid at the site that would give it independence from the national grid. The park’s owners — council-backed profit-for-purpose company Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC) — is seeking an energy partner which will establish a smart grid capable of powering the two-square-mile facility. Joe Martin, head of funding and energy at BEC, says that Westlakes Science & Technology Park “has the potential to become a beacon to science parks and estates across Europe.”
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