Electricity comes to Nigeria, but who will use it?

minigrids

Rocky Mountain Institute's Andrew Allee describes a problem arising out of electrification in Nigeria. Minigrids are bringing electricity to rural areas, but residents do not benefit if they cannot afford appliances. In early 2018, a solar minigrid installation transformed energy access in Gbamu Gbamu, a Nigerian town 45 minutes from the … [Read more...]

Study Warns that Gas Plants Could become Stranded Assets

clean energy portfolios

Utilities, investors and regulators should stop the rush to natural gas and choose clean energy portfolios (CEP) made up of combinations of solar, wind, storage, efficiency and demand response, warns a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). If they don’t, many gas plants will become stranded assets, raising the specter that … [Read more...]

Microgrids Already on their Way to the Bahamas…Just Not Fast Enough

bahamas

Often communities don’t even start to think about microgrids until after a disaster, giving rise to the adage ‘follow the carnage’ to describe a common path to microgrid development. But in the Bahamas, if there is any good news, it’s that microgrids were already on their way before Hurricane Dorian. The head start is a result of … [Read more...]

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

hours-of-safety

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...]

What are Non-Wires Alternatives?

non-wires alternatives are

Non-wires alternatives (NWAs) use distributed energy resources and microgrids to defer or replace the installation of more traditional 'wires and poles' infrastructure. When utilities choose non-wires alternatives, they often save ratepayers money by avoiding investments in costly infrastructure. By utilizing distributed energy resources (DER) at … [Read more...]

Scrutiny Begins of New Energy Resource Plan Issued by Puerto Rico’s Utility

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) issued a revised integrated resource plan (IRP) late last week in the latest move to redesign the island’s grid to avoid a repeat of the massive power outages brought by Hurricane Maria. Like its earlier version, the new plan segments the island into eight minigrids but incorporates more … [Read more...]

Goodbye to Arguments Against Renewables? New Studies Find them as Reliable and Cheap as Fossils

energy-as-a-service

Can renewables cost less than fossil fuel generation? And are they as reliable? It appears so, especially when they are coupled with a suite of distributed energy resources (DERs), such as virtual power plants and demand response. New reports by Energy Innovation Policy and Technology and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) lay out the … [Read more...]

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

climate auction

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...]

Transforming Electric Supply for Small-Town and Rural America

electric cooperatives

The Rocky Mountain Institute's Kevin Brehm, Madeline Tyson and Jeff Waller offer takeways on how rural electric cooperatives are transforming electric supply with distributed energy resources (DERs). The rural electric system — like the rest of the US electric system — was designed to capture economies of scale that defined how power was … [Read more...]

How to Keep Africa’s Minigrids from Becoming a Bridge to Nowhere

minigrids

A push is on to bring electricity to the nearly one billion people who lack it worldwide. But if you build it will they come? Apparently not, as some minigrid developers are finding in Sub-Saharan Africa. Electricity does little good for those who have nothing to plug in. And unfortunately that’s too often the case in remote areas with new … [Read more...]