History of Microgrids in the US: From Pearl Street to Plug-and-Play

history of microgrids

While it may seem that microgrids are new, the history of microgrids shows they have been around in some form for years in the US — although they haven’t always been called microgrids. The first one was introduced by Thomas Edison in 1882 at his Pearl Street Station, which combined heat and power and produced electricity and thermal … [Read more...]

Is Load Flexibility the New Demand Response?

load flexibility

Demand response is reaching a saturation point, but load flexibility is emerging as its new iteration, a 2.0 that is much more powerful and could become a 200 GW grid resource for the U.S. by 2030. That’s the word from the Brattle Group, in a report, “The National Potential for Load Flexibility: Value and Market Potential through 2030.” Among … [Read more...]

A Tool to Help Home Microgrids Stay Off Grid as Long as Possible

off grid

Researchers at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) have developed an optimization tool for microgrids that allows homes to stay off grid as long as possible, generally using solar, storage and smart meters. The researchers recently received a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office, based on a grant from the US Department of … [Read more...]

Taking Non-Wires Alternatives to a New Level, Company Petitions FERC to Move Electricity by Rail

non-wires alternatives

In a filing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Alternative Transmission (ATI) proposes a technology that could bring a new meaning to the concept of non-wires alternatives. Based in Sullivan’s Island, S.C., the company wants to move batteries by rail for discharge and charge where needed on the electric grid. Further, … [Read more...]

What the Schneider/Autogrid Deal Signals about the Future of Microgrids

utility microgrids

Schneider Electric’s recent decision to take a stake in Autogrid hints at the future relationship between utilities and microgrids as data exchange grows in sophistication. A global energy leader in energy management and automation, Schneider is a strong player in both microgrids and the utility market. Autogrid, a California energy software … [Read more...]

Electric Vehicles Are Driving Utility Rates Down

NRDC's Max Baumhefner, senior attorney for the climate and clean Energy Program, explores how the proliferation of electric vehicles could potentially lower utility bills across the board.  Can the addition of more electric vehicles to the grid actually lower utility bills for all customers? A recently updated study demonstrated just that, … [Read more...]

What are Non-Wires Alternatives?

non-wires alternatives are

Non-wires alternatives (NWAs) use distributed energy resources and microgrids to defer or replace the installation of more traditional 'wires and poles' infrastructure. When utilities choose non-wires alternatives, they often save ratepayers money by avoiding investments in costly infrastructure. By utilizing distributed energy resources (DER) at … [Read more...]

Scrutiny Begins of New Energy Resource Plan Issued by Puerto Rico’s Utility

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) issued a revised integrated resource plan (IRP) late last week in the latest move to redesign the island’s grid to avoid a repeat of the massive power outages brought by Hurricane Maria. Like its earlier version, the new plan segments the island into eight minigrids but incorporates more … [Read more...]

PJM Begins Process to Study How Utility Connected Microgrids Fit in its Market

utility connected microgrids

The PJM Interconnection has begun a process to explore the role of utility connected microgrids in the organization’s wholesale power market. The process “is part of a general effort to make sure PJM rules can accommodate all types of cases and resources and make sure there is nothing that prohibits incorporating microgrids,” Andrew Levitt, … [Read more...]

Newly Opened, JFK’s TWA Hotel is Always Grid Independent

microgrid

The irony could not be any more conspicuous: the vintage Trans World Airline, known as TWA, ceased to exist nearly two decades ago. But a new hotel and conference center has formed around what had been the TWA terminal at New York’s JFK Airport — one that focuses on ultra modern energy technologies: a microgrid, on site electric generation and … [Read more...]