ACEP Program Seeks to Bridge the “GAP” in Worldwide Microgrid Knowledge

The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) has launched an initiative to help microgrid planners worldwide learn from each other.  The Global Applications Program (GAP)  seeks to expand and leverage the “Alaskan knowledge economy” surrounding microgrids and create global synergy to overcome barriers related to their design and operation.

Unlike the rest of the United States, much of the Alaskan energy landscape is powered by islanded microgrids. As a result, Alaskan communities have developed unique technical expertise in various aspects of remote microgrid design, construction, and operation. However, they still face financial and operational challenges related to heavy reliance on diesel generation as an energy source.

“Within the context of U.S. energy infrastructure, islanded microgrids are a rare occurrence. Globally, however, islanded microgrids are/will be common, in particular in the developing world.  There are often similar circumstances between these global applications and rural Alaska regarding energy provision: long and vulnerable energy supply chains, expensive and volatile energy costs, minimally developed infrastructure, and rugged geographic and environmental conditions. Globally, there is much activity to address these circumstances, especially as access to affordable, cost-stable, reliable, and secure energy is a cornerstone to human and economic development.”

GAP seeks to provide a means for geographically and culturally diverse parties (both governmental and academic) worldwide to connect and share knowledge and best practices surrounding remote microgrid development. Still in its exploratory phase, GAP’s first priority is to develop evaluation tools and processes to identify such opportunities for trade and synergy.