Message from the Founder – March 2022

Dear readers,

Throughout the decades, microgrids keep progressing. We’ve always categorized microgrids into three segments characterized by primary value: energy access, diesel fuel reduction for isolated grids and resilience for grid-connected microgrids. While these aren’t the only benefits a microgrid provides, each segment is identified by the primacy of one of these objectives. This month’s newsletter illustrates a microgrid in each of the categories.

Our first article features a microgrid to provide resilience to Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Yarmouth is located on Cape Cod — a peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean and with only two roads to evacuate the entire population. The new microgrid will power a  a new emergency operations center located in one of the town’s fire stations and, like all microgrids, will also provide energy cost-savings and carbon emission reductions. It is an excellent example of providing resilience through grid-connected microgrids.

Next, we turn to long-time HOMER partner Odyssey Energy Solutions for an online platform that helps mini-grid developers connect with financiers and suppliers to build mini-grids for African communities with no access to electricity. By using HOMER’s application programming interface (API), Odyssey Energy Solutions created a simplified web interface to HOMER Pro to enhance their more extensive platform. Now, developers can design and get funding more quickly for their mini-grids, which then provide modern energy to some of the nearly one billion people with no energy access — all with less diesel fuel use and fewer grid extensions that have unrecoverable costs.

Finally, we explore the financial and aesthetic value of reducing diesel-powered electricity through an isolated grid on Harbledown Island, British Columbia. Like many remote indigenous communities, Harbledown residents have depended completely on diesel generators for power. For years past, the island’s extreme northern location and exceedingly cloudy climate made solar power impractical. Yet recent improvements in solar, batteries and control technologies mean the island can now rely on a solar-based microgrid, cost-effectively. Today, solar microgrids can be deployed basically anywhere.

Look for more information from us on our upcoming participation in Infocast’s Solar + Wind Finance and Investment Summit on March 7-9.

Dr. Peter Lilienthal, Ph.D.
UL, Global Microgrid Lead
HOMER Software Founder