A Step Toward the Re-Design of the Grid: California ISO Receives Federal Approval…And Other Quick News

community  microgridCommunity microgrid for Ideal Academy Public Charter School (Washington, D.C.)

The D.C. Lamond Riggs community is getting smarter — in more ways than one. Ideal Academy Public Charter School will soon host a community microgrid designed, financed and built by BDG Renewable Energy Development. 

The community microgrid will improve reliability and resiliency of the grid for the ‘smart community,’ maintaining power and vital community services for area residents in the case of widespread outages and saving Ideal Academy thousands of dollars in energy costs. Area consumers will also save money through community energy cooperatives, according to a company news release.

An Ideal Academy spokesperson stated: “This project provides the enabling environment to demonstrate how innovative school-centered partnerships in collaboration with utilities, governments, and education administrations at all levels will focus on training the new energy workforce for sustainable higher paying jobs; creating new science, technology, energy, and advanced manufacturing (STEAM) jobs; as well as spurring new sustainable energy entrepreneurs directly from the local community.

BDG is a special purpose entity set up by The Blunt Group, DirectSun Solar Energy and Technology, and Grid Development Partners. BDG markets solar, energy storage, EV infrastructure and microgrid products and services in the DMV and throughout the US east coast.

Washington, DC Charter School Plans #MicrogridClick To Tweet

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Approved California ISO proposal allows DERs to group together, participate in wholesale market

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) received federal approval for a proposal aimed at driving distributed energy resources (DERs) into the electric grid – the first of its kind in the nation.

The approved proposal will allow individual DERs normally too small to participate in the wholesale market to be grouped together to meet the minimum 0.5 MW threshold. While some DERs were previously able to enter the market in limited ways, the California ISO is the first grid operator in the U.S. to spell out a process for providers to group DERs together.

“This is a step toward the re-design of the power grid,” said Steve Berberich, said ISO president and CEO “We are seeing a shift from a one-way centralized system to a two-way decentralized system. This will open new market opportunities for distributed energy resource products and services, which will be instrumental to grid reliability in an emerging era of renewable power.”

More DERs – like microgrids, rooftop solar systems, plug-in electric vehicles, energy storage and demand response technology – on the grid increases renewable energy into California’s power supply, reduces carbon emissions and allows consumers not only to draw energy from the grid but also to inject electricity back into it.

“DERs are becoming an increasingly important part of our system because of lower costs and customer preference,” Berberich said. “It’s critical that the ISO collaborate with distribution system operators, regulators and market participants to harness these valuable resources.”

FERC approves aggregation of distributed energy on California gridClick To Tweet
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California Congressman proposes 30 percent energy storage tax credit 

U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley, Calif.) recently introduced H.R. 5350, the bipartisan Energy Storage for Grid Resilience and Modernization Act. H.R. 5350 will clarify the tax code by making it explicit that both businesses and individuals would be eligible for tax credits.

Energy storage systems allow businesses and consumers to keep excess energy generated when energy is in low demand and then use it during periods of peak demand, reducing consumers’ electricity bills and greatly enhancing the reliability of alternative energy sources.

The legislation would provide the same tax credit that renewable energy installations get, for those companies and homes who install energy storage facilities. Businesses and factories that generate energy through batteries would be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit. Households and businesses that purchase energy storage systems for their property would also be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit.

“Battery energy storage is a transformational technology capable of changing the energy landscape,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA). “Supporting its development will help create a grid that is more secure, more reliable and more affordable for consumers. Perhaps most importantly, battery storage is compatible with any source of energy, which will allow us to leverage the full array of renewable and traditional energy sources needed to power the nation.”

Rep. Honda was joined by Reps. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY) and Mark Takano (D-CA). The legislation is also supported by numerous industry groups, including the Energy Storage Association, the National Hydropower Association, Enphase Energy, STEM, Green Charge Networks and Imergy Power Systems.

The Energy Storage for Grid Resilience and Modernization Act has been assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means for a hearing and for markup, before it is voted on by the entire House of Representatives.

California Congressman proposes 30% energy storage tax credit Click To Tweet

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In the UK, criticism over costly plans to kick-start the grid, looming threats of blackouts

The Telegraph reports the UK’s “black start” plans — how the electricity system will be resuscitated in the event of a nationwide blackout — will cost more than $163m (£113m) more than initially agreed, drawing criticism that plants are being overpaid.

The plans — ultimately paid for by consumers on their energy bills — were put in place by system operator National Grid to ensure that two coal plants are available to kick-start the grid if the UK experiences a catastrophic blackout.

Most power plants require some power from the grid to restart their own generation systems, meaning the UK would be left in the dark without plants that can generate their own power to “keep warm” and restart on demand.

In the past coal plants have provided this service but as the UK’s coal power fleet dwindles, the need to secure their future through extra payments is increasing, according to the article.

National Grid will face the energy regulator this summer to explain the costs. The Telegraph reports that the operator called the current plans  “a short-term solution” and said that it is working to find a “long-term sustainable black start strategy” using a different approach and different providers.

Blackout relief costly on UK grid.Click To Tweet

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Battery storage news: Constellation Technology Ventures Invests in Qnovo’s Lithium-ion Battery Innovation

Qnovo, provider of solutions to enhance lithium-ion battery performance, announced that Constellation Technology Ventures (CTV) — the venture investing arm of energy supplier Exelon, invested in the company as part of its latest Series B financing.

Qnovo will expand the use of its innovative battery improvement software into battery based energy storage systems.

“Battery storage technology is an increasingly viable component to support grid reliability and the growth of distributed renewable generation resources,” said Michael Smith, vice president, generation innovation and strategy development at Exelon. “Qnovo software technology has the potential to reduce the long-term cost of ownership for lithium-ion battery systems by boosting performance, enhancing reliability and extending battery lifespan.”

The CTV investment supports Qnovo’s expansion into green energy storage and sustainability markets.

Constellation Technology Ventures Invests in Qnovo's Lithium-ion BatteryClick To Tweet

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