Deloitte: On-site Energy on the Rise with Millennials Leading the Clean Energy Charge & Other Quick Microgrid News

on-site energy

Photo: Realistic Shots, J. McQueen

Millennials are increasingly driving electric utilities and businesses to use more clean energy, according to a study from Deloitte.

“Resources 2016 Study – Energy Management: Navigating the Headwinds,” highlights the increasing influence of millennials aged 21-34, the largest and most dominant consumer group, as a dynamic force behind the shift to cleaner sources of energy – inspired by the desire to reduce their personal carbon footprints

The study also found that on-site energy is on the rise. Fifty-six percent of businesses generate some portion of their electricity supply onsite. Of these, 43 percent of total energy supply is sourced from electricity providers with the remainder split between on-site cogeneration (15 percent), on-site renewable generation (16 percent), fuel cells (16 percent) and other sources (9 percent).

More than half of the businesses surveyed say they are working to procure more electricity from renewable sources, driven by the dual advantage of cost reduction and being green. Specifically, 80 percent of businesses view reducing electricity costs as essential to staying competitive from an image perspective; 74 percent say customers are demanding they offer more environmentally considerate solutions, up from 66 percent in 2015.

This activity is driving record-breaking power purchase agreement (PPA) activity, with corporations having signed PPAs for large-scale, offsite renewables covering 3.44 GW of power in 2015, up from 1.2 GW for all of 2014. 

Among the age groups surveyed, millennials showed the greatest concern about shifting to a clean energy future. They not only have a strong desire for clean energy options but are also increasingly willing to pay for them. All consumer groups surveyed showed a growing willingness to pay a surcharge on their electric bills for developing renewable energy, but the highest support was among millennials.

Millennials also are leading the way in using energy apps; 34 percent use software apps to be smarter about their energy consumption, compared to 26 percent of the general population.

Fifty-two percent of millennials were receptive to solar, and 46 percent were extremely interested in purchasing a share in a utility-scale solar installation that would allow them to meet some or all of their energy needs.

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California State University Expects $3.3 Million in Electricity Savings from Hybrid Electric Buildings

This summer, Advanced Microgrid Solutions‘ will break ground at California State University (CSU), the nation’s largest public four-year university system, to install a portfolio of hybrid electric buildings

The 1,000kW/6,000kWh energy storage system installed at the CSU Long Beach campus is expected to reduce the university’s electric utility costs by more than $3.3 million, store enough energy to power 2,000 homes and provide critical support to the electric grid in the Aliso Canyon area.

AMS’ Hybrid Electric Buildings use Tesla Powerpack commercial batteries to store energy during nonpeak hours. During times of high demand, AMS’s analytics software seamlessly shifts buildings from the electric grid to the AMS energy storage system, reducing grid congestion and easing the need to build additional peaker plants.

AMS will break ground at CSU Long Beach this summer, and the system is expected to be completed by October 2016. In phase two, to begin in early 2017, AMS will install two additional storage systems for a total of 2,000kW/12,000kWh of energy storage. The CSU system includes 23 campuses, which will be able to enroll in the advanced energy storage project through a standardized contract and offering.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) Provider Blue Pillar Connects All Energy Things with Aurora 5.0 

Businesses that rely on critical infrastructure have a new tool at their disposal. IoT provider Blue Pillar released the Aurora 5.0 platform, allowing service providers to increase reliability during power outages.

Aurora can connect any Energy Thing behind-the-meter that measures, generates, switches or stores energy. By connecting all these Energy Things into a single platform with automated real-time monitoring and control, businesses can avoid outages while improving energy efficiency. Aurora 5.0 includes upgrades to cybersecurity, scalability to support multi-site deployments and data management.

“New IoT technologies improve everything from how we live to how we work and these capabilities are desperately needed within the energy industry, said Tom Willie, CEO of Blue Pillar. “Without IoT, energy information that is instrumental to the success of the business remains trapped inside siloed systems and must be manually obtained through expensive truck rolls or time-consuming facility walk-throughs. Blue Pillar’s Aurora Energy Network of Things platform automates manual processes with universal connectivity and control of all emergency power and energy assets. Our customers have peace of mind knowing that when the grid goes down, their services will remain uninterrupted and real-time data and control will also help lower energy bills.”

“Blue Pillar has been a fast-growing leader in the behind-the-meter nanogrid, microgrid and virtual power plant space in terms of total on-line capacity,” added Peter Asmus of Navigant Research. “Adding stronger security, scalability and data management into the Aurora platform will be fundamental as more facilities and service providers connect a more diverse set of energy assets to strengthen infrastructure resiliency and avoid grid failures.”

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Reducing Stress on the New York Grid During Summer AC Season with Energy Storage

The first five 100 kW/400 kWh energy storage projects to be enrolled in Consolidated Edison’s Demand Management Program (DMP) are complete. One of them has already passed the measurement and verification (M&V) testing stage.

The utility program was designed to reduce stress on the NYC distribution grid during the summer, particularly during the weekday peak hours (2:00-6:00 pm).

By deploying distributed energy resources, such as the 1 MW of aggregated storage across nine of luxury rental company Glenwood’s buildings in Manhattan, the impact to the local grid can be minimized — and these flexible resources can provide system stability during periods of high demand.

Demand Energy in partnership EnerSys are testing the other four energy storage systems, which are installed in separate properties.

“Our DEN.OS can aggregate and manage a mix of energy storage assets to respond to Con Edison’s localized peak problems, enabling Glenwood to respond to the demanding requirements of the dynamic New York energy market,” said Shane Johnson, VP of Operations for Demand Energy.

To qualify for the DMP incentive program, Demand Energy had to demonstrate that its first battery energy storage system, installed at Glenwood’s Paramount Tower property last year, could deliver the required four hours of continuous output during the afternoon hours (2:00 – 6:00 pm) for four weeks. The load at Glenwood’s Paramount Tower was reduced by 100 kW continuously during the test period and system performance was validated. Once the M&V was completed, the system went into full operation.

The remaining four systems started M&V testing on June 1 and will be completed the first week of July. Demand Energy is in the process of installing another five systems for Glenwood this summer. When completed, Glenwood will have a total of 1 MW/4 MWh of energy storage enrolled in the DMP.

“We are fully behind Con Ed’s efforts to improve the resilience of New York’s grid in the face of any extreme weather conditions and, importantly, the almost continual load growth that could further stress the grid,” added London. “You cannot walk even a few blocks here without seeing a tower crane at a construction site. We see the DMP as a significant step in averting grid incidents due to the everyday stresses on the infrastructure, which are magnified during events like heat waves.”

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