Navigant Counts 126 New Microgrid Projects & Other News from Ameresco, Demand Energy and UET

Dec. 13, 2016
Navigant counts 126 new Microgrid projects…Ameresco to provide generator for business park microgrid…College microgrid to use UET storage…NYC low-Income housing microgrid wins financing
Navigant identifies 126 new microgrid projects; US still on top

Navigant has identified 126 new microgrid projects in its recently released 4Q16 microgrid deployment tracker.

In all, Navigant counted 1,681 microgrid projects worldwide, representing 16,552.8 MW.

While still nascent, the microgrid industry is slated for steep growth, according to a separate forecast by the research firm. Navigant finds the worldwide market exceeding $30 billion within eight years.

The 4Q16 tracker finds North America – the U.S. in particular – still dominating with 54 percent of market share. Together, North America and Asia Pacific account for 95 percent of new project capacity.

North America is number one for operational microgrid capacity. Asia Pacific leads for projects under development and proposed capacity because of a Chinese program expected to come online by 2020.

The report also finds 203.4 MW of solar was added to microgrids, bringing the total solar in microgrids to more than 2 GW.

Diesel capacity remains the leading generation technology in terms of total capacity, though its lead is shrinking, Navigant said.

Utility microgrids continue to lead in all segments, according to Navigant.

Navigant cited three noteworthy new projects:

  • A 100 MW energy storage project in Andhra Pradesh India
  • An 83 MW of solar photovoltaic and energy storage in Imperial Valley, California
  • An 80 MW remote project in Newcastle Australia that includes diesel as well as solar PV and energy storage

Navigant offers the full tracker for a fee.

Ameresco to provide generator for business park microgrid

Ameresco will partner with development corporation PIDC on a 6-MW natural-gas fired peaking plant that will anchor the Navy Yard microgrid in Philadelphia.

The Navy Yard is developing what is expected to be one of the largest private microgrids in the United States. It is designed to serve a 1,200-acre commercial waterfront business campus with 12,000 employees and 152 companies occupying 7.5 million square.

“The new natural gas plant is in line with the Navy Yard’s passion and commitment to smart energy innovation and sustainability, and will help support the energy demand for the 1,200-acre urban business campus,” said Prema Gupta, senior vice president, Navy Yard planning, development, and operations at PIDC.

Gupta added that Ameresco will design and develop a project that “not only addresses the Navy Yard’s energy growth needs, reliability requirements, and cost targets, but can also provide back-up and resiliency support as required.”

The Navy Yard expects to run the multi-million-dollar peaking plant when demand peaks and when grid energy costs are high.

The microgrid will generate revenue and offset costs by participating in the PJM Ancillary Service Market.

“As a key component of the Navy Yard’s leading-edge microgrid, the plant will be capable of providing certain resiliency services and critical support in the event of extended grid outages in addition to shaving the peak load requirements of the microgrid,” said Michael Bakas, senior vice president of Massachusetts-based Ameresco

NYC low-Income housing microgrid wins financing

Energy storage company Demand Energy has secured a $1 million loan for battery storage at the Marcus Garvey low-income housing microgrid in Brooklyn.

The New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEE) is providing the 10-year project loan for the lithium-ion battery system.

The battery will store power generated onsite by the housing complex’s solar panels and fuel cell system. It also will store grid power when local utility, Consolidated Edison, provides low-cost power during off peak periods.

The new microgrid project is the first a low-income property in greater New York with battery storage.

Located in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, the 625-unit Marcus Garvey Apartments are owned by L+M Development Partners. L+M has already installed 400 kW of solar and committed to adding 400 kW of fuel-cell generation as part of a major property renovation.

The energy storage and distributed energy resources will be integrated into a microgrid managed by Demand Energy’s DEN.OS software platform. The software will be used to optimize the microgrid’s energy resources.

The system is expected to cut power expenses, improve grid reliability, and provide off-grid backup power for emergencies.

“Managing on-site generation and extracting value from the demand response market have made battery storage a smart, cost-effective choice,” said Brian Asparro, chief commercial officer for Demand Energy. “This software-controlled microgrid is exactly what building owners and Con Edison are looking to implement. NYCEEC’s innovative approach—non-recourse debt financing—made it possible.”

The parties expect the installation to more than pay for itself through incentives from Con Edison’s Brooklyn Queens Neighborhood Program (formerly BQDM) initiative, and from ongoing revenue generated through participation in demand response and peak shaving power programs.

College microgrid in California to use UET storage

UniEnergy Technologies (UET) will supply an energy storage system to a new microgrid project at the Las Positas College in Livermore, California.

The UET ReFlex system will initially include a 100 kW/500 kWh advanced vanadium flow battery, to support an existing 2.35 MW solar array and 3,200 ton/hour ice storage system.

The college expects immediate financial benefit from the energy storage system through reduction in peak demand charges. One ReFlex battery could save the college over $600,000 in energy costs and two batteries close to $1.3 million, according to UET.

The microgrid also will be used to smooth variable solar energy and reduce the college’s electric demand, which is nearly 15 percent of the local circuit load at peak evening hours.

The grid-connected microgrid will participate in demand response and other services to improve the central grid.

“The addition of long-duration energy storage to this project will enable Las Positas College to realize the full benefits of their solar installation and complete its transformation to a modern microgrid,” said Mike Carr, UET vice president of strategic and western sales. “In addition to the immediate cost and resiliency benefits to the college, the local utility and community will also benefit from reduced stress on the local circuit provided by the storage-enabled microgrid.”

UET says that the microgrid project will inform development of the next-generation grid where energy customers proactively manage their own generation and storage assets across a network, gaining benefits for themselves and their surrounding connected communities.

The college plans to share its data and knowledge across the California community college system and beyond, according to Doug Horner, vice chancellor, facilities/bond programs and operations for the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District.

“We will produce a Microgrid Blueprint as a model for evaluating, planning and installing energy storage and energy management microgrids at the hundreds of educational facilities across the state with installed solar PV arrays,” he said. “The performance and economic data will provide support for educational facilities leaders and solution providers evaluating the benefits for the schools themselves and their communities. This includes intelligent coordination of distributed energy resources such as solar PV and energy storage and increased reliability.”

The college has the option to purchase and install an additional ReFlex battery at a future date. The system will use Geli’s microgrid management applications. The project is managed by WSP|Parsons Brinkerhoff and funded in part by a $1.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission.

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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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