China’s First Microgrid, CleanSpark Expansion, Eaton Award

Jan. 8, 2016
China’s first microgrid, CleanSpark’s partnership with Renova Power Networks, Eaton innovation award…all in today’s quick microgrid news.

China’s first microgrid project has begun operating in Beijing, according to China’s People’s Daily Online. The first government-funded microgrid, it includes three wind turbines and numerous rooftop solar panels,  located in the high-tech incubator in the Badaling economic zone of Yanqing county. It can work independently from the main grid, providing electricity for some or all of the incubator’s electric equipment.Unlike the traditional grid, it sees little power loss during long-distance transmission, says the newspaper.

Yanqing county is home to several wind, solar and bio gas power projects. The new smart microgrid will allow the energy these projects generate to be stored during off-peak hours and securely transmitted across the main grid for use during peak hours.>

Once the project is introduced to more areas in Yanqing, the county hopes to bid farewell to thermal power generation.


What’s driving microgrid development? Michael Firenze, CEO of CleanSpark, says it’s all about energy costs for his company’s clients.

“Plain and simple. If people can save money while achieving energy security and independence the mindset is there to buy, we’ve seen. Since our systems are 100 percent renewable they feel good about it too,” Firenze said.

San Diego-based CleanSpark offers software and controls for advanced microgrids. The company says that its product allows locally generated energy to be shared with other interconnected microgrids and creates microgrids that can be infinitely scaled. Among its projects are the Camp Pendleton fractal microgrid.

The company is working on expanding its global reach as part of a new partnership with Renova Power Networks, a development company that focuses on innovative financing models and renewable energy.

Rick Tallman, CEO of Renova, said that he sees renewables plus storage as “positioned for exponential growth.” Renova has established a focused subsidiary, Renova Energy Management, to work arm-in-arm on microgrid development with CleanSpark. The pair are working on projects in California and New York, the Caribbean, Central America, Canada, and South Africa and the South Pacific.


Through open innovation and collaboration, power management company Eaton dramatically grew its microgrid program while reducing the cost of energy storage.

A recent recipient of the Berkeley-Haas Open Innovation Award, part of Eaton’s winning submission was a case study on the dramatic growth of its microgrid program through partnerships with universities, military bases, utilities, government laboratories and non-profits. Eaton and its open innovation partners demonstrated the ability to save 80 percent of the cost of storage in microgrids. The team also developed technology to save substantial generator fuel costs and reduce the risk to military personnel through fewer fuel transport missions for the U.S. Department of Defense’s forward-operating bases.

Eaton also recently announced a microgrid controller designed to help simplify and expedite the deployment of complex microgrid and energy storage systems.

Today it’s China’s first microgrid, tomorrow it’s another industry milestone. Track the news by following Microgrid Knowledge on Twitter @MicrogridNews.

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Cara Goman

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