Each year I feel a tremendous sense of excitement and optimism while hosting the HOMER International Microgrid Conference. This year’s event was particularly exhilarating. It made me reflect on how grateful I am to be a member of the microgrid community. And with that in mind, I’d like to thank the colleagues who traveled from afar to participate. We had a full house and an agenda packed with speakers representing every aspect of microgrid technology, economics, policy, and social impact.
We were pleased to welcome attendees from 19 countries this year, and others traveled long distances within the US to attend from Alaska and Hawaii. Thailand’s electric authority sent a representative so they can use HOMER Pro to explore microgrid potential for island communities. We had several people from Africa, particularly Nigeria, which has an ambitious program to develop thousands of microgrids, and others from Kenya, South Africa, and Ethiopia. Finally, many attendees came from Canada, Asia and the Middle East to trade microgrid case studies and to learn from the HOMER training workshops the day after the conference.
Our keynote speakers this year were especially informative, covering a broad range of topics. Peter Asmus of Navigant Research revealed that the fastest growing sector of the microgrid market is for C&I customers, while the fastest growing region is Latin America. Nathan Adams of ABB discussed the evolution of microgrids from off-grid projects in remote areas to a growing proportion of grid-tied, distributed energy systems that provide resilience and cut costs. Ashish Shrestha of the World Bank described how mini-grids support energy access, supplying clean, cost-effective power to a steadily increasing proportion of the billion people who still lack electricity.
Other speakers covered a broad range of topics including ways to improve operations and maintenance on microgrids, important social and political considerations in planning microgrids, the importance of teamwork and collaboration in microgrid development, and lessons that can be learned from the important energy transition underway on the island of Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, over a dozen exhibitors and sponsors presented new microgrid and distributed energy products and services to the attendees including controllers, batteries, test equipment, engines, design and due diligence services, and consulting.
We would like to express our gratitude to Schneider Electric, which generously opened its doors to its Advanced Research facility in Andover, MA. Schneider employees conducted tours of its state-of-the-art microgrid and research labs, and presented valuable insights on microgrid design, development and operation.
HOMER Energy has been working in developing and island nations to advance microgrids as a solution to energy access and high fuel costs for over a decade. But now distributed energy technology has matured and is able to provide high penetration renewable power at a cost below traditional power in developed countries. We also see how important this technology is as a resilient solution to extreme weather events.
Our team is committed to helping provide clean, reliable, distributed power at the lowest possible cost. We believe that the future of power is distributed and hybrid and we are pleased to support the advancement of microgrid technology. Therefore, we’d like to offer our heartfelt thanks to each of the conference participants, exhibitors, and sponsors.