What are Connected Communities? And Why are they the Future?

Someday soon, you might live in a building that is connected to others in a way that helps reduce your utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions, write Victor Olgyay and Seth Coan of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). Here they explain the emergence of connected communities. Looking out your window you might see another building. … [Read more...]

Caribbean Ripe for DER and Microgrid Development but Needs Financial Boost

The Caribbean is ripe for microgrid development because of the challenges of hurricanes and COVID-19, but financial constraints are getting in the way. The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is proposing some solutions. This year’s hurricane season is expected to be worse than usual, while the islans are still coming back from the impacts of … [Read more...]

Synchronizing Agriculture and Distributed Energy Can Reduce Nigeria’s Oil Dependency

The Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) Olatunde Okeowo and Andrew Allee explore how synching agriculture and distributed energy can cut down on Nigeria's oil dependency, increase energy access and save rural residents money.  What if it was possible to boost both national and local economies while increasing energy access and saving rural … [Read more...]

Microgrids Up and Running Despite Earthquake and Massive Power Outage in Puerto Rico

With a large swath of Puerto Rico in the dark as a result of this week’s earthquake, there is some good news from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). Microgrids in 10 schools are up and running. The solar plus storage microgrids were recently installed by RMI, Save the Children and Kinesis Foundation. Built in remote regions, the microgrids … [Read more...]

Yes, Solar Plus Storage is Cost Effective

Ryan Shea and Madeline Tyson of Rocky Mountain Institute show why commercial customers paying demand charges and time-of-use rates should seriously consider an investment in solar plus storage, a common technology used in microgrids. As shown in a recent RMI report, battery energy storage costs are less than a fifth of what they were a … [Read more...]

Do We Need to Count Embedded Carbon Content Too?

Is it time to look beyond just emissions from power plants and vehicles and consider embedded carbon in steel, scrap metal, minerals and other building blocks? Here is a new program to do just that, as explained by Paola Natali, of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI),  Suzanne Greene of the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, and Perrine … [Read more...]

How Many Hours-of-Safety before Buildings become Dangerous in Extreme Heat?

Microgrids and other distributed energy resources can extend a buildings "hours-of-safety" — a concept explained here by Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) authors Jacob Corvidae and Sneha Ayyagari. How many people in your community are at risk during extreme weather events? The heat waves wracking the nation right now can cause heat exhaustion, … [Read more...]

Climate Auctions: A 21st-Century Alternative to Grants and Loans

Tyeler Matsuo and Julia Meisel, of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), explore climate auctions. This 21st century alternative to grants and loans uses competitive bidding to disperse public funding to carbon-reducing projects. With scientific reports warning of the urgency of concerted climate action, and with current national climate targets … [Read more...]

A Microgrid Toolkit to Bring Equity to Power Restoration in Puerto Rico: RMI

Megan Kerins and Alejandra Castrodad-Rodríguez of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) describe a new microgrid toolkit to ensure power reliability for those most vulnerable in Puerto Rico. When the lights went out September 20, 2017, no one could have foreseen that it would take 130 days to restore power to seven out of ten people in Puerto … [Read more...]

How Undergrid Minigrids Could Shore Up Unreliable Electricity in Nigeria and Beyond

Sachi Graber of the Rocky Mountain Institute describes a $200 million opportunity in Nigeria to develop undergrid minigrids, projects that shore up electricity for those served by unreliable grids. Traditionally in sub-Saharan Africa, electrification efforts have emphasized the hundreds of millions of people who live off-grid, with no … [Read more...]