Washington State Cooperative Installs First of Many Microgrids Planned for Islands

Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO) has set up a 500-kW solar microgrid on Decatur Island, one of several island microgrids planned for the San Juan Islands, off the north coast of Washington. “I consider this the first of many ... to help maintain our power reliability as we transition away from carbon based fuels,” Foster Hildreth, … [Read more...]

The Texas Grid is the Latest Too-Big-to-Fail Story

Blame is being assigned at warp speed for the massive power outages on the Texas grid, but the most basic danger isn’t being discussed: Big grids by their nature are prone to big failures. That’s not to say we should do away with large grids — they offer an efficient way to deliver power to many people over a dispersed geography. But as … [Read more...]

Texas on the Verge of an Energy Catastrophe: How Microgrids are Helping

The electric grid has been around for nearly 140 years, but it’s yet to overcome its biggest nemesis: the weather. Texas is showcasing that point this week as it suddenly rivals California in proving the need for microgrids. What happened in Texas and how bad is it? Very bad. Struggling to keep the grid from collapse, the grid operator … [Read more...]

California Considers Lifting Microgrid Standby Charges

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will consider lifting or reducing standby charges for microgrids in the third phase of its effort to help commercialize microgrids. Standby charges — rates utilities use to cover their costs for self-generation customers — are viewed as a potential financial barrier to microgrids. Initial … [Read more...]

Message for President Joe Biden: US Infrastructure Needs Microgrids

President Joe Biden is expected to release an infrastructure plan this month that sounds ready-made for microgrids. His goal, he said, is to make infrastructure “more climate resilient” to achieve “cheaper and cleaner” transport. Although microgrids seem like a perfect match for Biden’s plan, it’s uncertain how much they will play into it. … [Read more...]

Locals and Techies Promote Intriguing Critical Services Microgrid for Asheville, NC

What do you get when you bring together an energy consultant, an aerospace engineer, a former engineering professor and a cybersecurity expert — all of them in Asheville, North Carolina, a city renowned for its creative spirit. It turns out you get a microgrid proposal -- and an intriguing one at that. The group of volunteers is pitching … [Read more...]

How Much Energy is Enough for Each of Us? New Report Calls for a Minimum Standard 

The idea that everyone should have access to sufficient energy lies at the heart of the microgrid proposition.  People may experience energy deficiencies because of poverty, geography or calamity. It may be a daily condition, as we see in parts of Africa, or a temporary condition brought on by storms or wildfires, as is more common in North … [Read more...]

California Microgrid To Demonstrate that Hospitals Don’t Need Diesel Generators

Kaiser Permanente plans to demonstrate a range of energy innovations at a hospital microgrid in Ontario, California, that will include how to incorporate renewable energy and move away from diesel generators. The hospital microgrid also will feature a fuel cell and a demonstration virtual power plant (VPP) — with power provided from … [Read more...]

A Ready-Made Microgrid at Zero Cost? Yep. A Nebraska Utility Did It

Lincoln Electric System (LES), the public power utility serving greater Lincoln, Nebraska has set up a microgrid with up to 29 MW of load to serve critical facilities. The cost? Zero. The microgrid in downtown Lincoln is based around an existing duel-fuel, 29-MW generating unit and a substation and its infrastructure, according to Scott … [Read more...]

California Approves Microgrid Tariffs as Grassroots Groups Push for More Local Control of Energy

In a decision likely to be eyed closely by other states, California regulators yesterday approved microgrid tariffs and rules to hasten the deployment and commercialization of the technology. Approval of the tariffs, as well as accompanying microgrid incentives, followed a year-long effort by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) … [Read more...]