Quick Microgrid News…Haiti’s First of 80 Microgrids…More on NY Prize…Congress & Microgrids

June 11, 2015
In this week’s microgrids news…Haiti gets first of maybe 80 microgrids…Barton & Loguidice wins contract for community microgrid study…Sen. Franken pushes microgrid financing bill

In this week’s quick microgrid news…

EarthSpark International, an organization dedicated to ending energy poverty, has completed the first of what it hopes will be 80 microgrids in Haiti.

Called the EKo Pwòp microgrid, it is serving 430 homes and businesses in downtown Les Anglais in the South of Haiti. The microgrid operates with a 93 kW solar PV array, 400 kWh of battery capacity, and a small diesel backup generator.

Working with Digicel, Haiti’s largest telecommunications company, EarthSpark also tapped into underutilized capacity from a generator powering a telecommunications tower.

Early project funding came from National Geographic and from the Government of Norway; later funding from the US Agency for International Development, Linkin Park’s Power the World campaign, the 11th Hour Project, the United Nations Foundation, and individual donors.

EarthSpark and the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum have set a goal to build 80 microgrids in Haiti by the end of 2020. About three-quarter of Haiti’s population lacks access to electricity, according to EarthSpark.

Barton & Loguidice has won a contract to prepare a microgrid feasibility study for the village of Malone, New York, according to a local newspaper report.

The Malone Telegram says that the town was awarded a $100,000 grant through the NY Prize to conduct the study. Barton & Loguidice, a New York-based engineering firm, will assist the northern New York town study a possible microgrid that could include its three prisons.

Malone is one of several towns so far that won the grant money, the first phase in a three-part contest for $40 million in microgrid development funds being awarded by the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority.  Others who have won the $100,000 grants include: Cayuga County, the Village of Port Jefferson, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Bath, Westfield, Sherburne and the East Hampton area of Long Island.

NYSERDA expects to issue up to 25 awards for feasibility studies, followed by 10 grants for $1 million that will be used for microgrid design. In the final stage, NYSERDA will choose five projects that will receive up to $7 million for microgrid construction.

Congress has heard testimony on about 100 energy bills in recent months, as it prepares comprehensive energy legislation.

A bill (S. 1258) sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota,  would create loan and grant programs for microgrids, combined heat and power and other forms of distributed energy.  Funds would go to states, tribes, universities and utilities.

To be eligible for funding under the Franken proposal, the “Local Energy Supply and Resiliency Act of 2015,” projects would need to accomplish at least one of the following:

  • Improve grid security and resiliency during extreme weather events, grid equipment or software failure, or terrorist acts.
  • Increase use of local renewable energy resources and thermal waste energy
  • Enhance feasibility of microgrids, demand response, or islanding
  • Enhance management of peak loads for consumers and the grid.
  • Enhance reliability in rural areas, including those with high energy costs.

Earlier, we reported that Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska,  introduced a bill into the Senate that instructs the Secretary of Energy to create a national strategy to promote hybrid microgrids for isolated communities.

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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