Duke’s Solar+Storage Microgrid Approved
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
North Carolina regulators recently approved a solar+storage microgrid project proposed by Duke Energy, designed to help maintain reliable power for a small town called Hot Springs in the western part of the state. The project includes a 2 MW solar array and 4 MW lithium-ion battery and will be Duke's first utility-scale solar+storage project for residential customers.
The recent spate of hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes have brought the issue of resilience to the fore for businesses and the communities they operate in. The increasingly higher intensity disasters, which are also occurring more often due to global climate change, punishes local communities. NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information tracks the impact of these “billion-dollar disasters” – disasters where the damage costs are greater than or equal to a billion dollars – and the statistics are stunning.
Ameren is preparing to test a Canadian company’s software that could someday help usher in a radically different business model for the utility. The software will simulate a “transactive energy marketplace” on the company’s microgrid in downstate Illinois. Eventually, the concept could allow Ameren customers to buy and sell power from each other in real-time or day-ahead markets.
Electric vehicles have been a hotbed of innovation and forward thinking for a while now. As EV technology has continued to improve and charging stations have popped up all over the U.S., many have viewed these cars not only as a way to adopt the newest technology, but also become greener. There are more than a few people who haven’t been able to resist the tech of a brand-new Tesla or the ability to reduce carbon emissions with a Nissan Leaf.
After first focusing on the cost saving benefits of advanced metering infrastructure, utilities are using the infrastructure and data AMI gathers in multiple ways, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy. The report — Leveraging AMI Networks and Data — is part of DOE’s Advanced Grid Research division’s Voices of Experience initiative that aims to share information among utilities.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) wants to be "the world's first fully-digital utility," even with the drawbacks that come from being a public power entity. The utility industry is overwhelmingly more analog than digital so the push to reinvent itself goes against the model it's had for a century.
California is several years into a push to help commercialize microgrids in the state. Now, officials are taking stock of the performance of the first generation of microgrids supported under the effort. These demonstration microgrids are delivering a reported utility bill savings of 20 percent to 60 percent, primarily in avoided demand charges, and some have successfully islanded during power outages.
As of this week, a new goal drives Madison Gas & Electric (MGE): eliminating carbon emissions from its electricity offerings by 2050. This new, net-zero carbon plan puts the Wisconsin energy company in line with a growing number of other U.S. utilities setting similar goals. The plan was announced Tuesday by MGE’s Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.