Quick News: FuelCell Energy & Trinity College, Grid Mod, Siemens & Smart Grid, Hybrid Gensets

May 23, 2017
FuelCell Energy gets Trinity College microgrid-ready…U.S. utilities investing $100B in grid modernization…Siemens joins in Netherlands pilot to connect 20,000 homes, DERs…Demand rising for hybrid gensets in Europe
FuelCell Energy gets Trinity College microgrid-ready

FuelCell Energy has executed a power purchase agreement with Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, to install a 1.4 MW microgrid-ready fuel cell power plant.

The college, which serves 2,200 students on a 100-acre campus, expects to save about 30 percent in annual energy costs through use of the the combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

The fuel cell will be in installed adjacent to the school’s athletic center, and will generate a continuous supply of on-site electricity and steam for the campus.

FuelCell Energy says that the project has “grid-independent operating capabilities” that makes it ready for a future microgrid.

Under the PPA, FuelCell Energy will install the power plant and handle operation and maintenance. Trinity College will pay for power as it is produced, and be spared any capital investment in the power plant.

U.S. utilities investing $100B in grid modernization

U.S. utilities are investing more than $100 billion each year in grid modernization, largely digital technologies that are the building blocks of the future energy grid, according to a new paper by the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation’s (IEI).

“Grid Modernization Technologies: Key Drivers of a Smarter Energy Future, says that in 2016, alone, investor-owned utilities invested $21 billion in the transmission and $32 billion in the distribution grid.

The industry also has installed more than 70 million in digital smart meters across the United States, covering more than 55 percent of all households. The meters represent only a fraction of the grid modernization technologies being deployed across the country today, says the paper.

Among trends cited in the paper:

  • Energy storage and microgrids will continue to grow to facilitate DER integration; to improve distribution grid operations; to provide resiliency benefits; and to meet customer needs.
  • Increased decentralization will pave the way for the next wave of grid modernization, focused on the deployment, siting, and integration of DERs.
  • Integrated distribution planning – a utility integrated resource plan for the distribution grid – likely will become the new normal.
Siemens joins in Netherlands pilot to connect 20,000 homes, DERs

Siemens is joining a partnership to connect 20,000 homes and distributed energy resources (DERs) into a smart grid in the Netherlands city of Rotterdam.

The project is being undertaken over the next three years by the city, the Dutch grid operator Stedin, and Dutch energy service provider Lyv Smart Lyving.

The homes, along with wind, solar and other DERS, will be connected by way of Siemens decentralized energy management system, DEMS. Omnetric Group, the Siemens joint venture with Accenture, will deliver the project’s IT.

The project is being designed to even out peaks, avoid grid overloads and save on energy and costs. Project sponsors also hope to encourage investment in more renewable energy and energy storage, and make new business models possible.

Participating companies and households  will have an opportunity to generate power themselves, acting as ‘prosumers’ – those who both produce and consume power.

Demand rising for hybrid gensets in Europe: Report

A new report by Frost & Sullivan sees demand rising in Europe for hybrid diesel generators.

The report cites several factors, including growth of data centers, rising infrastructure investments, low diesel prices due to falling oil prices, and capacity market auctions in the United Kingdom.

Because of environmental and air regulations in Europe, products that focus on reducing emissions, like hybrid gensets, are positioned for growth, the report says.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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