Pet Microgrids, Best Microgrids, and Microgrids that Get Your Package There on Time

March 20, 2018
Maryland County looks at microgrids to protect pets…Best microgrids? Ameren and Blue Lake Rancheria win…UPS delivers new level of electric vehicle (EV) charging
Maryland County looks at microgrids to protect pets

Montgomery County, Maryland has been ahead of the curve when it comes to microgrids. Now the county is exploring the possibility of installing a microgrid for its animal shelter, perhaps the first in the country.

The county is doing so for good reason. Protecting animals often strains resources during hurricanes and other disasters.

As people flee they sometimes must leave their pets behind. Rescue workers find them stuck in flooded houses or lost and wandering the streets. Animal shelters become overburdened.

Puerto Rico flew 1,000 animals to the mainland following Hurricane Maria, but animal shelters still remained overtaxed. One shelter reportedly housed animals on its roof because it had no more space within.

Officials also worry that people risk their own safety by staying in their homes to protect pets when they should evacuate.

The project is still in exploration phase, according to Mark Feasel, vice president at Schneider Electric, which is working with the county on microgrids for public safety.

Best microgrids? Ameren and Blue Lake Rancheria win

What do utility leaders consider to be the “trend setter, role model” microgrid projects? John Caldwell, the director of economics for the Edison Electric Institute, put the question to his panel at the Microgrid Global Innovation Forum, hosted last week in Washington, D.C. by Smart Grid Observer.

The panel of three utility executives –  PECO’s Eric Stein, CMS Energy’s Charles Hookham and Southern Company’s Howard Smith – selected the Blue Lake Rancheria low-carbon microgrid (one vote) in northern California and Ameren’s cybersecure microgrid (two votes) in Champaign, Illinois.

The 100-acre Blue Lake Rancheria uses a Siemens controller and solar-plus storage to secure power for the remote Native American reservation. Ameren has in operation the first microgrid in North America to serve paying customer loads on a utility distribution feeder. The project uses S&C Electric and Schneider Electric technology.

Register now for Microgrid 2018. Limited spots are available to tour the Ameren microgrid.

UPS delivers new level of electric vehicle (EV) charging

A consortium led by UPS says it is now using a new battery-based charging technology in London that avoids expensive grid upgrades that are typically necessary for charging many EVs simulataneously.

The breakthrough allows UPS to use more EVs and fewer combustion engine vehicles. It was limited to 65 EVs at its central London site because of the charging constraints, but can now expand to 170 EVs. UPS says the breakthrough may mark the first time charging technology has been deployed at this scale anywhere in the world.

The battery-based technology came out of work by the Smart Electric Urban Logistics (SEUL) project with UK Power Networks and Cross River Partnership. The UK’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles funded the project.

UPS describes the technology as a smart grid that uses a central server connected to each EV charge post and to grid power and onsite energy storage. The system adopts an “intelligent” approach to charging by spreading it throughout the night so that the building can use the power it needs to run the business of logistics (lights, sortation machinery and IT) and ensure that all EVs are fully charged by the time they are needed in the morning.

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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, 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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