Ameresco executive discusses inflation, the military and the future of microgrids

July 1, 2022
Britta MacIntosh, senior vice president of Western Region & London Operations for Ameresco, sat down with Microgrid Knowledge during Microgrid 2022 to discuss how global trends like inflation are impacting microgrid development.

Now is the perfect time for the world to take advantage of the many benefits offered by microgrids, according to Britta MacIntosh, senior vice president of Western Region and London Operations for Ameresco. The challenges brought on by inflation, the war in Ukraine and supply chain issues can all be offset, at least in part, by a microgrid’s resilience.

“Even though we have the term micro in microgrid, it’s not really a micro solution; there are a lot of different things microgrids can do,” MacIntosh says in a recent interview with Microgrid Knowledge’s Editor-in-Chief Elisa Wood.

In the interview, which took place during Microgrid 2022, MacIntosh explains how the military is leading the microgrid charge. “Our military bases are very forward-leaning when it comes to resiliency and security, and microgrids are a perfect application for that,” she says. The Army has set a goal to have a microgrid at every military base by 2035, and MacIntosh believes its approach to these projects will pave the way for other sectors. The military can show “higher education, local governments and state governments how to apply the same kind of solutions to protect their facilities,” she says.

Microgrid Conference 2024 is April 22-24 in Baltimore

Ameresco is Gold Sponsor: Registration Still Open

MacIntosh and Wood also discuss the impact of inflation on the microgrid market. Inflation drives interest in microgrids, according to MacIntosh, and it provides the impetus to get microgrid projects started. Driven by the need to reduce energy costs, “people stop thinking about it and actually do it,” she says.

At the same time, inflation puts the focus on energy efficiency, which MacIntosh says is a key to ensuring microgrid projects are cost-effective. “The first thing you want to do is put the building on a diet,” she says. Solar panels and battery storage are sexy, according to MacIntosh, but a lot of the energy efficiency work is done behind the scenes.

“If we really focus on an energy efficiency first approach, and then build those resilient systems second, we’re going to be better off in the long run,” MacIntosh says.

MacIntosh also discusses how microgrids can benefit wildfire-prone areas in California. As we continue to electrify our society, she says, the ability “to provide decentralized sources of power, especially in cases of emergency, becomes increasingly important in California and other places in the United States.”

Learn more about how the microgrid market is changing by catching up on what happened at Microgrid 2022: Microgrids as Climate Heroes. Videos of each session will be available for free as part of the Microgrid Knowledge video library

About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

Related Content

ameresco-250x190

Ameresco

Oct. 27, 2017
Ameresco, Inc. is a leading independent provider of comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for facilities throughout North America and the United Kingdom...

Exploring the Potential of Community Microgrids Through Three Innovative Case Studies

April 8, 2024
Community microgrids represent a burgeoning solution to meet the energy needs of localized areas and regions. These microgrids are clusters of interconnected energy resources,...

MGK_MesaWPCover_2021-09-07_8-14-03

6 Reasons Why Natural Gas is a Distributed Energy Source Bridging Solution

Many experts predict a windfall for the renewable energy industry as companies strive to meet their stated goals by 2035, 2040, or even 2050. But a new white paper from Mesa Solutions...