British Tech Park Takes Next Step on Microgrid Project & News from Urbanova and Navigant

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Forrest wins contract for energy plan at Cumbria microgrid

Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC) has taken its next step in developing a complex microgrid system for its two-square mile business park in Cumbria by hiring renewable energy contractor Forrest to create a low-carbon energy master plan.

The British real estate company intends to make Westlakes Science & Technology Park grid independent for both power and heat.

BEC chose Forrest against 17 other organizations during an open solicitation. Based in the city of Bolton, England, Forrest was selected because of its technical expertise, approach to partnering and social value.


Westlakes Science & Technology Park. Credit: Adamedia

Over the coming months Forrest will be developing the master plan that incorporates microgrids and various smart energy technologies, among them distributed energy, building management systems, solar photovoltaics, energy storage, electric vehicles, district heating, energy efficiency and demand response.

Gallup to gauge public sentiment on Spokane smart city plan

Urbanova, a smart city living lab in Spokane, Washington’s University District, which includes plans for a microgrid,  is collaborating with Gallup to identify Urbanova projects that matter to citizens.

Gallup will conduct in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and review data to uncover public priorities that smart city projects can address.

“By collaborating with Gallup, we are delivering on our commitment to identify citizen-driven applications that matter to people and that strive for social, environmental and economic resiliency and equity. Ultimately, we expect to develop a process that is replicable and scalable for other communities to use, ” said Kim Zentz, managing director, Urbanova, and co-director, Washington State University smart cities initiatives.

Gallup hopes to identify ‘pain points’ in the community that Urbanova projects can address. The research firm will work to uncover key sentiments surrounding public health, infrastructure, economic development, government, transportation and social issues.

A nonprofit, Urbanova was founded by Avista, the City of Spokane, Itron, Washington State University, McKinstry and the University District Development Association.

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Navigant sees strong growth in building-to-grid

A new Navigant Research report forecasts that global revenue for building-to-grid (B2G) integration will grow from $1.3 billion in 2017 to $28.8 billion in 2026.

The report focuses on the commercial and industrial market, analyzing B2G use cases, opportunities, and challenges associated with deploying the technology in the energy cloud.

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“The door is open for a market orchestrator—a sort of captain at the helm of a new platform or framework for transactions tied to energy supply and demand,” says Casey Talon, principal research analyst at Navigant Research. “For regulated utilities, B2G can threaten existing customer relationships and business models. For technology providers and other third parties, B2G is an avenue for customer acquisition and new business development.”

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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.