World-Gen Nov/Dec 2018

WORLD-GENERATION NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 4 Resiliency was the word most com- monly heard throughout the two-day HOMER International Microgrid Conference in San Diego held on October 8 and 9. Resiliency was most often the rea- son a community, a utility or a campus seeks to build a microgrid, to protect themselves from power outages and extreme weather, especially in North America. Microgrids outside the US were being built either to bring power to a com- munity or to replace some of the expensive diesel fuel they are dependent on with renewable power. A report was recently published by the California Energy Commission that pro- filed 26 microgrids in both the US and internationally. Conclusions reached by the authors, from Navigant Consulting, were that “although the microgrid market is developing rapidly it is still relatively immature and microgrid projects tend to be highly customized. Therefore, these projects often require expensive one-off engineering solutions for emerging tech- nologies (such as advanced energy stor- age) that in many cases still require gov- ernment subsidies.” This conclusion was also reached by at least one speaker at the microgrid conference. Government support is almost always a given to get microgrids built, reported Patrick Morand, a regulatory attorney with Duane Morris, (see his comments below). The CEC report notes there are a few microgrid projects that are moving forward without significant government support. Summaries of the 26 microgrids are included in the report available on the CEC website, at gov/2018publications/CEC-500-2018-022/ CEC-500-2018-022.pdf. The report, Microgrid Analysis and Case Study Report, was written by Peter Asmus, Adam Forni, and Laura Vogel, Navigant Consulting, Inc. 2017. MICROGRIDS ARE UNIQUE TO SITES A sprinkling of attendees at the microgrid conference in San Diego came from outside the US, and discussed the microgrid projects they were involved in. Most are solar photovoltaic combined with diesel generation. Projects outside the US usually do not involve energy storage as they do in the states. Here are some microgrids operating or being built in other countries: Tikuna Energy is developing a pilot project in Chile for a community microgrid. Funding has been obtained for 34 solar PV and battery storage systems, sized at 2 kW her house. No utility power is being used. The company received 400 applications from residents. Tikuna Energy will be studying the performance of the systems for the next year when reg- ulators will be considering regulations. Alison Mason of SunJuice Solar dis- cussed community microgrids in Puerto Rico. She moved there to develop projects and reports that microgrids will remain isolated from the island’s utility. Barrio Montones Las Piedras, with equipment donated by Tesla, serves 12 homes. The community of Toro Negro, Ciales, having organized for 15 years, built a solar system to serve 28 houses, with equipment paid for by the Puerto Rico Community Foundation and Somos Solar. Mason reports that the development of San Salvador Caguas in Puerto Rico is a community-driven effort that began two years before Hurricane Maria. Six con- sumer education workshops were held and 250 households were surveyed. An addi- tional 550 are interested. A concept design exists and financing is being sought. James Hamilton at the University of Tasmania’s Center for Renewable Energy and Power Systems discussed remote microgrids on three islands: King Island, Flinders Island and Rottnest Island in western Australia. Hydro Tasmania recently completed the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project. Designed to provide up to 65% of the island’s energy use, The existing diesel engines provide 2.5 MW peak load and is being augmented by bio- diesel. Two wind turbines provide 1.3 MW, solar systems, 1.2 MW and a battery stor- age system provides support to the net- work operating on 100% renewable energy. It stores excess wind power. Two auxiliary diesel engines with a flywheel, to cover short power interruptions, allows 100% renewable energy supply when production is high. The project has reduced fuel costs by 10% according to Hamilton. Rottnest Island has wind, solar, and diesel power, according to Hamilton. Solar contributes a greater amount of power, wind a small amount. No other details were available. Emily Chessin, with the Cadmus Group reported there are now utility- owned community solar microgrids in the eastern Caribbean where there is limited progress and growth in customer-sited solar PV, especially with commercial and industrial customers. Electricity costs are high and there is interest in reducing those costs, but there are challenges to making investments. She reported the Turks and Caicos Utility Limited owns a solar PV system which home and business owners can buy into. Nick Hawley, with BBA Engineering reported on the Old Crow Off-Grid Solar- Diesel Integration project in the Yukon in Alaska. Described in a Government of Yukon press release as a community-driv- MICROGRID MARKETS EXPANDING BY LYN CORUM,CLASS OF 2012 (continued page 21) PERSPECTIVE