Eaton Adds Name to Growing List Offering Microgrid Controllers

Dec. 11, 2015
Eaton is the latest in a growing list of companies offering microgrid controllers, the brains of the microgrid.

Eaton became the latest in a growing list of companies offering microgrid controllers, the software smarts that by many definitions make a microgrid a microgrid.

The Pittsburgh-based power management company this week unveiled its new microgrid energy system, which it says simplifies development of complex microgrid and energy storage systems.  Eaton calls its new controller the Power Xpert Energy Optimizer.

Microgrid controllers are often described as the brains of the microgrid. They come into play when a microgrid islands from the main grid, as well as when it optimizes and integrates its various supply resources.

Eaton says that its new  product accomodates the modular nature of new, advanced microgrids. Often microgrids are not built all at once, but gradually over time, with new sources of generation added  as customers need more power or when they are ready to incorporate renewable energy.

Eaton sees its microgrid controller being used in projects for the military, campuses, utilities, hospitals, commercial buildings and other facilities.

“Eaton understands the challenges associated with deploying grid-dependent power systems to enhance energy surety and provide a critical line of defense against unexpected power loss,” said John Stampfel, vice president and general manager, of Eaton’s Electrical Engineering Services and Systems Division. “By applying a modular design, industry-leading substation hardware and expert engineering support, Eaton is helping customers achieve secure, reliable microgrid and energy storage systems in nearly any application.”

The Eaton controller helps maintain stability, shave peak demand, shift load and manage black start, according to Eaton. The system also helps the microgrid maximize renewable energy contributions and participate in utility demand response. It predicts weather and energy prices, and helps manage the microgrid’s resources based on the information.

Eaton, which had 2014 sales of $22.6 billion, adds to a growing list of large energy companies focusing on microgrid controllers, among them Schneider Electric and Siemens.

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