From a Hybrid Microgrid in Tasmania to Neighborhood Batteries in Denver…Quick News

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Tasmanian island models hybrid microgrid for Australia

A model hybrid microgrid in Tasmania is scheduled to begin operating this quarter, according to Electro Power Systems, which developed the project with Toshiba for Hydro Tasmania.

The 3-MW, solar plus storage microgrid is part of the ‘Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub,’ designed to wean the island off fossil fuels. The hybrid microgrid will increase the island’s renewable energy and storage use to 65 percent and cut its diesel fuel use by more than 60 percent. At a later date, wind power will be added to the system.

Hydro Tasmania hopes to commercialize the hybrid microgrid technology and export it to Australia.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Tasmanian Government helped fund the hybrid microgrid. It was developed along the lines of Hydro Tasmania’s King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project, which supplies 100 percent of King Island’s power with renewables.

Sigora Haita raises $2.5 million from European consortium 

Sigora Haiti has raised $2.5 million from ElectriFI, the European Commission’s Electrification Financing Initiative backed by 15 European development finance institutions.

ElectriFI received 290 proposals in response to its first call for investment in April 2016. Sigora, which specializes in mini-utilities, is the first company from the initial cohort to receive funds from the call.

Sigora Haiti will use the money to expand an existing microgrid-like network in Haiti from 5,000 customers to 136,000 (27,000 accounts).

The 3.5-MW project uses prepaid metering and revenue managment technology owned by Sigora Haiti’s parent, California-based Sigora International.

“We are taking a new approach to electrification in frontier markets, incorporating smart metering, prepaid electricity, and renewable generation” said Andy Bindea, founder and CEO of Sigora Haiti and Sigora International. “We are proving that bringing electricity to underserved, low- and lower-middle-income populations is not only highly impactful but attractive from a business perspective.”

Denver neighborhood as energy storage learning lab

Colorado utility Xcel Energy is partnering with battery vendors Northern Reliability Inc (NRI) and Sunverge Energy to test how a neighborhood energy storage system can bolster solar energy and ensure grid safety and reliability.

The two-year pilot project is taking place in Stapleton’s North Central Park and Eastbridge neighborhoods.

The companies are testing six in-home, behind-the-meter battery units and six larger, utility-scale units along a feeder in an area of Denver with a high concentration of solar. They hope to better understand how energy storage can help manage solar on neighborhood feeders, and will store excess during the day and discharge it when demand peaks.

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The partners also hope to learn more about regulating voltage spikes and reducing energy costs.

San Francisco-based Sunverge Energy expects to install six, 15.5-kWh in-home batteries in the spring of 2017. They will be paired with pre-existing rooftop solar PV arrays.

Meanwhile, Waitsfield, VT-based NRI plans to install six, utility-scale batteries in the fall. Two 18-kW batteries, two 36-kW batteries and two 54-kW batteries will be placed on either end of the distribution feed half loop. They will be paired to match the entire loop’s reverse power flow.

“The resiliency and redundancy provided by these systems, spread out through multiple neighborhoods, is incredibly forward thinking. This is exciting as it brings distributed storage resources one step closer to widespread adoption. This kind of innovation furthers the goals of increasing the penetration of renewable generators while simultaneously protecting the utilities from variances in the power quality,” said Jay Bellows, NRI CEO.

Track stories about hybrid microgrid projects, mini-utilities and energy storage @MicrogridNews on Twitter.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


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