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Proposed Federal MICROGRID Act (Em)powers Local Governments, Nonprofits

Congressman Panetta’s bill — the Making Imperiled Communities Resistant to Outages with Generation that is Resilient, Islandable, and Distributed (MICROGRID) Act – would provide an incentive toward installing and deploying microgrids to provide backup power during emergencies. The need for these microgrids is clear, and through this legislation, the federal government would enable communities and to take climate-related action.

PG&E and BoxPower Mitigate Wildfire Risk with Remote Hybrid Power Systems

Rather than rebuild distribution lines damaged by fire, PG&E is working with BoxPower to install a renewables-based microgrid to provide clean, resilient power for customers in Briceburg, California. The solar + storage system is the first of 20 proposed for development through PG&E’s new Remote Grid Initiative.

Nigerian Minigrid Reveals Transformative Power of Access to Clean Energy

The 15 kWp solar array completed for the project’s first phase | All images courtesy of Ashipa Electric

When Ashipa Electric installed a solar + storage-based mini-grid in an agrarian community in Nigeria, team leaders expected the system to lower power costs and reduce carbon emissions. But by offering residents access to clean, cost-effective energy, the hybrid system also revitalized the economy, elevated quality of life, and produced environmental benefits beyond all expectations.

Looking to the Past to Predict the Future of Microgrid Markets

By studying historic drivers and evaluating current market indicators, Wood Mackenzie researcher Isaac Maze-Rothstein has gathered key insights related to microgrid markets in both the US and Kenya. He and colleague Benjamin Attia have mapped out an overview of what the future may look like for these markets. They will present their findings at the 8th annual HOMER International Microgrid Conference on October 12.

Foundational Support: Vallecito Energy Storage Resilience Project Lays the Groundwork for a Larger Renewables-Based System

An exciting energy storage installation in the Goleta Load Pocket, a highly vulnerable 70-mile transmission area in Southern California, will provide resilience in the form of 40 MWh of utility-scale energy storage. The Vallecito Energy Storage Resilience project will not only provide an energy storage foundation for a future community microgrid, but it lays the groundwork for a more resilient energy network in a region hard-hit by natural disasters.

Mind the (Charging) Gap: Electric truck fleets are set to expand exponentially. But not without robust charging infrastructure.

Analysts forecast a dramatic rise in the number of e-trucks on the road by 2025, which can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support air quality goals. But addressing the question of how to meet the high energy demand and infrastructure needs of e-trucking fleets is critical. On-site, renewable generation offers a solution.

How to Adapt Microgrids to New Constraints Brought on by the Novel Coronavirus

The challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic make it more critical than ever to ensure that businesses have abundant, continuous power. Project developers can prepare businesses by equipping them with smart energy management systems that allow for remote commissioning, autonomous control, and reliable off-site monitoring and data logging.

Extending Battery Life with Control Strategies: An Interview with Jonathan Schulte

Jonathan Schulte explores the ways in which microgrid control methods informed by forecast-based algorithms can extend battery life and decrease operational costs. He will present his research at the 8th annual HOMER International Microgrid Conference in October. Schulte and his team have developed a method for reducing the average state of charge of lithium-based battery systems and decreasing the time the battery spends in a fully charged state—both of which lead to longer battery lifetimes without impacting the system performance.

Flow Batteries: Technology Synergies Will Provide Grid Stabilization

Flow batteries are considered excellent choice for large-scale energy storage projects for a number of reasons, but primarily because they can cycle for multiple short periods daily, for about 30 years while maintaining an even performance. The Energy Superhub Oxford will install the UK’s first transmission-connected battery, a lithium-ion/vanadium flow battery, sited at National Grid’s Cowley Substation.

Ace Natural, New York: Organic Food Wholesaler Builds Microgrid to Boost Resilience and Cut Utility Bills

An organic food distributor in the metro New York area recently installed a microgrid – designed by HOMER Grid – to improve their bottom line along with their resiliency. Ace Natural is saving more than half their utility costs by using renewable energy, while batteries and a generator powered by biodiesel ensure continuous operations if there’s a power outage:

How Distributed Energy Can Help Meet New Infrastructure Demands for Electric Vehicle Charging

The rapid expansion of the electric vehicle market is going to create two challenges for society: first, electrified transportation is going to increase our demand for electricity; second; in order to serve new EV owners, we will have to make rapid upgrades to our EV charging infrastructure. How will the transition to electrified transportation affect consumers, utilities and other stakeholders? We explore that question in light of the new HOMER Grid EV charging station design tool:

Electric Pressure Cookers and Microgrids Provide Hope in Solving the Intractable Global Problem of Biomass Cooking

Electric cooking training in a Tanzanian village Photo: Ansila Kweka

Indoor air pollution, mostly caused by cooking with wood and charcoal, causes millions of deaths each year in developing countries, mostly to women. Biomass cooking also depletes forests and adds to global warming. Now the combination of high efficiency electric pressure cookers (EPCs) powered by renewable energy mini-grids, are being tested in East Africa. The hope is that electric cooking can save lives as well as ecosystems:

EarthSpark Secures $10 million from the Green Climate Fund to build 22 microgrids in Haiti

EarthSpark International, a nonprofit focused on bringing energy access to Haiti’s rural poor, has just received $10 million dollars from the UN Green Climate Fund. EarthSpark will use the money to continue and expand its efforts to build high-quality microgrids that deliver renewable electricity to over 20 towns without any access to power. Renewable electricity will help consumers save more than 50 percent of what they currently spend on kerosene, charcoal and diesel fuel: