Quick Microgrid News: NY Village Hires Microgrid Team…$250M in Private Equity for Microgrids…Powerhive’s Kenya Win

May 12, 2015
In microgrid news this week…Sherburne, NY moves forward with Power Analytics, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Siemens…Stonepeak offers $250M in private equity for microgrids…Powerhive opens door to more microgrids in Kenya

Sherburne historic district, Credit Doug Kerr

Sherburne, New York has retained Power Analytics, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Siemens to help with initial development of a community microgrid.

The village won a $100,000 grant last month to conduct a microgrid feasibility study through the NY Prize competition. PA, BAH, and Siemens had helped the central New York village prepare its successful application.

The village was among the first five municipalities to win NY Prize funding. The other winners were the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and electric utilities associated with the villages of Bath, Westfield, and the East Hampton area of Long Island. More details are here.

Sherburne is studying installation of a microgrid to provide energy reliability and resiliency to the village’s fire and police departments, the Village Hall, a health clinic, and a wastewater treatment plant.

PA and BAH will work with Sherburne to determine the most efficient way to develop its microgrid, and Siemens will aid in construction. The project will include combined heat and power and renewables, such as solar photovoltaics.

Next, Sherburne will apply for round two funding in the NY Prize, which is making available $40 million to help communities build microgrids.

Power Analytics provides software for energy intensive, mission-critical facilities and microgrids. Booz Allen Hamilton offers management consulting, technology, and engineering services for government, corporations and not-for-profits. Technology giant Siemens focuses on electrification, automation and digitalization in more than 200 countries.

Meanwhile, microgrids also are attracting new private equity. New York-based independent private equity investment firm Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners has committed to make $250 million available for utility distribution microgrids, or UDMs.

Stonepeak has teamed with California-based energy infrastructure development company Energizing Co. to form Energizing Infrastructure, which will  serve as the project financing platform for Energizing Co.’s microgrid and grid modernization projects in North America.

Energizing Co. said in a news release that it is working closely with cities and utilities that are developing microgrids and other clean grid modernization projects.

Stonepeak, which manages $1.7 billion of capital for its investors, invests in hard assets, primarily in energy, power and renewables, transportation, utilities, and water and communications.  Energizing Co. is conducting a study for a community-scale microgrid in the South Boston Seaport and recently completed the first phase of a grid modernization project in northern Ontario. It is also involved in several major energy infrastructure modernizing efforts in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

In Africa, Powerhive has won a major concession as the first private company allowed to generate, distribute, and sell electricity to the Kenyan public.

The Berkeley, California company develops remote solar microgrids in rural areas.

Powerhive was granted the concession after operating microgrid pilot projects for two years in four villages in Kisii, Kenya. The remote microgrids offer 100 percent renewable energy to about 1,500 people. The projects helped the villagers create new businesses, use appliances, power schools, and forego use of kerosene and diesel.

Powerhive says that the the Kenya Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) decision to provide a concession to an off-grid utility company reflects the beginning of a global transformation in the energy sector.

“The Powerhive permit was granted in recognition of the fact that grid expansion is not always the most economical choice to expand energy access; off-grid alternatives have a role to play,” wrote Frederick Nyang, director of economic regulation for the Kenya ERC, in a letter. “[Powerhive has demonstrated] that its microgrids are capable of operating in compliance with the prescribed standards for residential and commercial electricity service provision.”

The concession will allow Powerhive East Africa to scale up its operations in the region, beginning in Kisii and Nyamira counties in western Kenya, and to deliver electricity directly to hundreds of rural communities that are beyond the reach of the national grid.  Kenya has set a goal to electrify 100 percent of the population by 2030.

“The government of Kenya recognizes that the fastest and least expensive approach to reach 100 percent electricity access is to allow private investment in distributed generation infrastructure,” said Zachary Ayieko, Powerhive East Africa’s managing director.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is the editor and founder of EnergyChangemakers.com. She is co-founder and former editor of Microgrid Knowledge.

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