Message from the Founder – September 2020: Evolution of the Microgrid Industry, HIMC 2020, Remote Monitoring, EV Truck Fleets & Regulations

The 8th Annual HOMER International Microgrid Conference is only a month away. We are pleased to welcome Rolls Royce Power Systems as a platinum sponsor for the conference. We are looking forward to hosting highly relevant and interesting sessions including an excellent segment on Grid Connected Systems and the ever changing world of Regulations with Australian Energy Commissioner Audrey Zibelman and U.S. expert Karl Rabago among others.

In this issue of HOMER Microgrid News, we will preview some of the presentations you will hear, including a topic dear to my heart, remote monitoring. We also have an article on a hybrid battery combining the power of lithium with the durability and energy content of a flow battery, and an article on the coming wave of electric truck fleets.

One of the insights that becomes obvious when you compare the upcoming conference to previous ones (aside from the need to be virtual due to the pandemic) is how much the microgrid industry has matured in just the last couple of years. 

For the first few conferences we hosted, we were grateful to have presentations about pilot demonstration projects.  These were often one-off projects that weren’t sustainable. Systems would fail due to simple, solvable problems, but no one was nearby that knew how to fix them and there was no remote monitoring. 

For a project to be sustainable, it requires a well thought out management program, with layers of support at the local, regional, and international level. The cost of international support has always been a show-stopping problem. This is an area where the pandemic may force the industry to do something it should always have done, which is to focus on remote monitoring.

We explore this in-depth at HIMC 2020 and in this issue of Microgrid News with articles on three companies with innovative approaches to remote monitoring, control, commissioning, and data analysis. We have gotten beyond simply demonstrating that microgrids work, to developing commercially viable plans that optimize their total cost of ownership. Please read on for these stories. And register now for the free to attend, 100% online 8th Annual HOMER International Microgrid Conference, October 12-16.