Updates from Africa, SLC Plans for 100% Green..and More Microgrid News Highlights, Week Ended July 15, 2016

> International Microgrids

Microgrid news: African Nature Conservancy Goes Off-grid

With the generators off, visitors can fully enjoy the serene beauty and natural sounds of the conservancy.

*Photo from Loisaba Conservancy

Aquion Energy, SolarAfrica deliver off-grid solar power system at Kenyan Wildlife Conservancy

Aquion Energy, Inc., manufacturer of Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) batteries and energy storage systems, and SolarAfrica, a leading African Solar Energy Services Company, have announced a newly installed microgrid at the Loisaba Conservancy, a wildlife research and ecotourism destination in Kenya, East Africa.

The microgrid was funded, designed, installed, and integrated by SolarAfrica. According to the company, “the project consists of two independent systems, each of which has 106 kWh of Aquion batteries paired with a 37 kW solar array. This off-grid solar-plus-storage system has replaced diesel generators to power a commercial laundry, swimming pool, kitchen, business services, lighting, cooling, and other facility loads.”

“Loisaba comprises 56,000 acres of pristine lands, populated by hundreds of animal species and enjoyed by thousands of visitors and guests each year,” explains Loisaba Conservancy CEO Tom Silvester. “We embrace the idea of living lightly on the earth, minimizing our carbon footprint and maintaining a clean, safe, and sustainable environment. The use of Aquion saltwater batteries in tandem with SolarAfrica’s solar powered solutions is perfectly aligned with our approach to preserving nature, enabling us to generate power from the sun and store it for later use.”

SolarAfrica Project Manager Dr. Kobus van Tonder mentions several highlights of this project: “The outcome of this project has made many significant changes to the way we use energy and how we perceive it. We noticed how the lodge quickly descended into a blissfully quiet state, as the constant humming of generators were turned off. Another great benefit of switching to solar energy, and storing it effectively, is that it’s now significantly cheaper than running diesel generators, which also means that the consumption of diesel decreases, as does the carbon footprint.” Loisaba expects to reduce diesel consumption by 95% and save 53 tons of CO2 per year.



Tanzania Launches Sustainable Energy Action Agenda, Investment Prospectus

Tanzania’s  Minister of Energy and Minerals, Sospeter Muhongo, has announced the launch of the Tanzania SE4All Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus. The announcement was made at a workshop  bringing together key stakeholders from government, development partners, private sector, and civil society.

“The Action Agenda is an umbrella energy sector development document and constitutes a national response to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 7 on energy adopted in September 2015 by the UN General Assembly that strives to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern and energy for all,” states a news release. “The African Development Bank supported the development process of Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus with technical assistance financed via the African Climate Technology Centre (ACTC).”


>>North America
> Microgrids

Stratean acquires CleanSpark to combine gasification technology with advanced energy software technology

Stratean, Inc., developer of a “stratified” downdraft gasifier, has announced that the company has acquired CleanSpark, a provider of engineering, software, and controls for distributed energy resource management systems, in an all-equity transaction valued at approximately $36 million. The deal will enable customers further independence from the energy grid.

The acquisition transfers ownership of CleanSpark’s operational subsidiaries, fractal grid software technology, contracts, patents, other software and related assets to Stratean. CleanSpark has existing, executed contracts to deploy and maintain solar microgrids. Stratean’s gasifier is capable of providing a baseload energy source to augment CleanSpark’s energy management software and control platform technology(mPulse).

“This acquisition combines the revolutionary, energy management software and technologies of CleanSpark with our innovative gasification technology to enable end-to-end, completely autonomous power to microgrid energy systems,” says Stratean CEO Matthew Schultz.” By providing CleanSpark with an infusion of capital and complete access to a base-load source of renewable energy, we plan to integrate the technologies into a unified solution that will take both our patented gasifier and CleanSpark’s offerings to the next level.”


Alaska Center for Microgrid Technologies Commercialization (ACMTC) competition now open

The Alaska Center for Microgrid Technologies Commercialization (ACMTC) has announced that its  competition is now open to applications. The competition provides technical and business support to awardees to accelerate market entry for their products. The competition is a collaboration between ACEP, the Business Enterprise Institute, the Alaska Small Business Development Center, and the Center for Economic Development.

Microgrid News Technologies Competition now open accepting applications

“There will be a total of six awards made in this first round,” according to ACMTC. “The main award will be 25 days of R&D time in ACEP’s Power Systems Integration Laboratory, including collaboration with the Power Systems Integration Team. Five smaller awards will be made for product developers to receive up to 125 man-hours of R&D support, which can include design reviews, specification development, grid interface design and development, modeling, etc. All applicants are invited to make use of the services provided by the Alaska Small Business Development Center.”

ACMTC is now accepting applications by eligible product developers. Pre-registration for the competition closes on July 22, 2016. Send inquiries to:


>> Energy Storage

Advanced Microgrid Solutions completes $200 million energy storage transaction with Macquarie Capital

Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) has completed a $200 million Macquarie Capital transaction providing capital for the joint development and construction of an energy storage projects fleet, according to a news report. Under the agreement, Macquarie will offer project capital will be used to design, construct, and manage a distributed fleet of AMS’s advanced energy storage facilities located at commercial, industrial, and government host sites.

“The next decade is likely to see huge changes in the mix of energy consumed across the globe,” says Rob Kupchak, head of U.S. Power, Utilities and Renewables for Macquarie Capital. “And we see energy storage rapidly emerging as a growth market in the next generation of energy infrastructure.”

The energy storage systems will be used for utility grid services, including flexible and reserve capacity, solar integration, and voltage management. The systems will also be used for retail energy services such as demand management, backup generation, and enhanced power quality.

AMS’s first projects will provide 300 megawatt-hours of capacity resources and demand management for commercial, academic and utility customers in the West Los Angeles Basin service territory of Southern California Edison (SCE), California’s second largest utility. SCE will purchase capacity from the AMS fleet of behind-the-meter, battery-based energy storage systems under 10-year capacity contracts to provide load reduction services.

Advanced Microgrid Solutions Energy Storage Systems

Advanced Microgrid Solutions designs, finances, installs, and manages advanced energy storage solutions for commercial, industrial, and government building owners. As part of Macquarie Group – which provides global corporate finance services – Macquarie Capital’s Power, Utilities and Renewables team focuses on companies operating in the generation, transmission, distribution, retail energy marketing, midstream, water, solar, wind, storage, biomass, and waste industries.


>> Microgrids

Texas Microgrid to power H-E-B groceries during outages

Texas-based H-E-B, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers, has announced an exclusive agreement with Texas Microgrid providing Enchanted Rock’s “On Demand Electric Reliability” service for approximately 45 stores in the greater Houston area. Houston’s location near the coastline makes the city vulnerable to severe weather events. For this reason,  H-E-B is taking further steps to ensure stores can remain open when utility service goes down.

“We are in need of a reliable backup power system that will keep our stores up and running without any interruption to our partners, customers or communities due to a weather event or a general, short-term grid outage,” explains H-E-B Vice President of Fuel and Energy George Presses. “Through ERock’s natural gas-powered microgrid design, H-E-B will be able to provide a critical service to the community during a power outage.

“Providing aid in times of disaster is the cornerstone of H-E-B’s philosophy, which promises to stand by communities during times of need,” adds Presses, which strengthens our ability to serve our communities.”


> Renewable Energy

This is the State Capitol, Great Salt Lake and Snow Capped Wasatch Mountains at sunset. It will be the winter Olympic city for the year 2002.

State Capitol, Great Salt Lake and Snow Capped Wasatch Mountains

Salt Lake City Announces 100% Clean Energy Goal

Salt Lake City, Utah, officials announced this week the city’s goal of transitioning the city to 100% clean energy by 2032. The city also plans to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2040. This latest announcement makes Salt Lake City the 16th U.S. city with a 100% clean energy goal.

As Sierra Club’s READY FOR 100 Campaign director Jodie Van Horn explains, the Sierra Club’s program goal is to inspire 100 cities commit to go 100% renewable by the end of 2018. In developing a plan to meet a goal like this, Van Horn says, cities not only move to 100% clean energy but also do so in a way that advances local economic opportunity, energy affordability, and access for residents. As the largest city in Utah, Salt Lake City’s goal will benefit the will help accelerate growth of a clean energy economy throughout the state.  With the decline of coal-based electricity, “city-led clean energy commitments can assist the transition into a 21st Century energy economy, says Van Horn. “The push among cities to declare 100% clean energy is changing the landscape and accelerating the renewable energy market.”

“This is the most ambitious step ever taken by Salt Lake City to address the threat of climate change,” states mayor Jackie Biskupski in a press release. “This commitment places the city among leading communities worldwide that acknowledge our responsibility to rapidly reduce emissions and forge a new path forward that protects our economies, societies, and overall human well-being.”