New One-Stop Shop for Microgrid Projects… and News from WSU, Southern & Peak Power

Aug. 18, 2017
Advisian and UpGrid partner to streamline microgrid projects…WSU receives $2.3M grant for microgrid resiliency research…Southern Company to provide Bloom Energy fuel cells for data centers…Peak Power wins funds from Canada
Advisian and UpGrid partner to streamline microgrid projects

Advisian, the advisory arm of WorleyParsons, and Boston-based start-up UpGrid, are partnering on a one-stop service to streamline development of microgrid projects.

Building a microgrid often involves multiple players and as many as five different companies. The team coordinates the process from initial concept through operation, according to Upgrid founding member Andrea Ruotolo, who was involved in the early formation of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV).

“One of the main findings of New York’s REV proceeding was that a single provider to manage the full process of energy infrastructure innovation did not exist, and that there is a strong demand for a provider of comprehensive solutions. By teaming up with Advisian, we are now able to meet that need,” Ruotolo said.

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The partnership will help with microgrid projects from start through finish: from needs assessment (including financial, environmental and energy, financial modeling and business review) through the design, procurement, construction, installation, O&M processes and training.

“This eliminates the difficulties found in dealing with multiple organizations,” said Steve Schwartz, Advisian practice lead.

WSU receives $2.3M grant for microgrid resiliency research

Washington State University researchers have received $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy grant to enhance grid resiliency by incorporating distributed energy resources and microgrids into a distribution system.

Researchers will develop a systematic approach to cluster an active distribution grid into a multi-microgrid system that enables reliability, supply-security and controllability analysis of the distribution grid, according to Chen-Ching Liu, Boeing Distinguished Professor from WSU’s School of Electrical Engineering.

Others participating in the project are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Argonne National Laboratory, Seattle City Light and GE Grid Solutions.

WSU reports that the team will conduct initial testing in simulations at WSU’s smart grid testing laboratory. Later, they plan to scale up and test the system with actual scenarios from a real power system.

Southern Company to provide Bloom Energy fuel cells for data centers

Southern Company made its next move into the national distributed energy market this week, this time with fuel cells that will provide 37 MW for 12 data centers.

Through a subsidiary, the utility signed a deal with data center company Equinix to install the Bloom Energy fuel cells under a 15-year power purchase agreement. Fuel cell installation will begin in late 2017 and run through 2019.

The data centers are in Silicon Valley, New York, and the Los Angeles area.

Southern Company entered into the competitive distributed energy market with purchase of PowerSecure in February 2016 for $431 million.

Peak Power wins funds from Canada

Energy storage company Peak Power has won $1.9 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada to scale up of its Peak SYNERGYTM controls platform at six sites in Ontario, Canada and New York.

Peak Power’s software responds to market signals and predicts the most efficient times to charge and discharge batteries. As a result, the system can stack revenue streams for buildings, as well as aggregate multiple sites to create a virtual power plant.

BGIS, a Brookfield Company, Black & McDonald, Alectra and the National Research Council Canada also are funding the project.

Tracks news about microgrid projects by following Microgrid Knowledge @MicrogridNews.

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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