Plug & Play Microgrid Systems

October 17th, 2016 by   Originally published on Solar Love.

On October 10th, ABB, a pioneer and world leader in microgrid technology, announced a new range of microgrid solutions to enhance and promote distributed power generation. These modular and scalable “plug and play” products are designed expressly to address the needs of remote areas that are not tied to the electrical grid, but are also appropriate for use in both developed and developing countries.

screenshot-2016-10-14-at-12-06-19-pmThe containerized systems can be delivered quickly and efficiently to any location where a microgrid is needed. Each includes a battery for energy storage, power inverter, and ABB’s dedicated Microgrid Plus control system. The entire package can be managed wirelessly via a cloud-based control system.

For communities and industry, the ABB scalable system can provide uninterrupted power during planned or unplanned electrical outages. System sizes from 50 kW to 4,600 kW are available. All can work with solar or wind power, a traditional electrical grid, or locally produced electricity from a diesel generator. The standard integrated functions include grid-connected and off-grid operation with seamless transition. It is a containerized solution designed for easy transportation and fast installation onsite. Operations and maintenance are enabled via a cloud-based remote service system.

“Our modular, standardized and scalable microgrid solution will provide cost efficient access to reliable power for rural and urban applications, as a plug-and-play solution,” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids division. “It exemplifies ABB’s continued commitment to innovation and reducing environmental impact by enhancing the integration of renewable energy sources and reducing dependence on fossil-fuels, all key elements of ABB’s Next Level strategy.”

The electrical power industry is changing. Distributed renewables are challenging the status quo that has brought us the traditional centralized power grid. Some utility companies are pushing back hard against the idea of distributed power which, among other things, opens the door to private actors making their own electricity and selling it to others without involving utility companies at all.

That’s the idea behind an experimental cooperative in Brooklyn. It’s only a small system involving just a few people, but it strikes terror into the hearts of utility company executives. If people can make electricity and distribute it themselves, who needs utility companies?

Brooklyn’s Microgrid For Selling & Buying Electricity March 16th, 2016 by

A ‘microgrid’ platform has been opened in Brooklyn to allow consumers to buy and sell electricity directly to each other in a secure peer-to-peer network. It was created byTransactive Grid (TAG) to allow the production and consumption of electricity to be in the hands of consumers. Of course, this means when operating within the microgrid system they will be not be entirely based on electricity from utilities.

brooklyn

Ethereum blockchain technology is the basis for the Brooklyn energy network, which monitors electricity outputs from solar and wind power. It also does the same for electricity from batteries – which could mean products like the Tesla Powerwall, or other new energy storage products.

The first network will be launched on President Street in Brooklyn, which runs into Prospect Park and then through Crown Heights on the other side. The Brooklyn Transactive grid is a joint venture between LO3 Energy and ConsenSys.

“This really is an exciting development in the way consumers can interact with energy,  and we hope it will lead to a cleaner, greener society,” said Co-founder of TAG, Lawrence Orsini. This new technology is an important opportunity for consumers to participate in a new electricity marketplace, rather than having to rely exclusively on large or huge utilities, and pay their rates.

There are already homes in Brooklyn with their own solar power systems generating electricity, which can be consumed by the homeowners. If there is excess electricity, it can be input to the this microgrid, where other homeowners can buy it.

The ability to sell excess electricity directly to other consumers is important, because typically it has been sold back to utilities at rates that have not been determined by consumers. In other words, the net-metering rates are determined by bureaucracies which usually have connections to government agencies or departments and utilities.

Some utilities have been resistant to homeowners getting their own solar or wind power and battery systems, because they want to control electricity and the money associated with it.

We might think of solar or wind power as something that is better for the environment, but it can also be better for people because clean energy doesn’t produce the harmful air pollution that fossil fuels do.

The use of a microgrid platform in a neighborhood is fascinating – they have been used effectively on islands as well.