Here’s Looking at You, Grid: Monthly Digest of the Top Content Submitted to the Grid Professionals Group in Energy Central- September 25, 2020
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- Sep 25, 2020 5:15 pm GMTSep 25, 2020 5:22 pm GMT
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The grid is both the most complex engineering accomplishment we have across the country as well as potential the most important piece of infrastructure when it comes to ensuring the safety, health, and wellbeing of citizens in every corner. That much is clear, both to Grid Professionals and increasingly to the public at large. It’s become almost a cliché to talk about the aging grid infrastructure and for politicians to use that as a talking point for potential investment, clean energy wins, job creation, and more. Unfortunately, I think on the national and mainstream level, at least, those topics will be pushed pretty low on the list of ideas to debate and ones that will energize voters. But that political landscape doesn’t undercut how important these topics are, and in fact it makes it even more important for utilities and various energy industry stakeholders to pay close attention.
That’s where the Grid Professionals Group on Energy Central comes in!
We have thought leaders and experts in the grid space constantly sharing their insights, news of the day, and ideas for what the priorities should be to harden and modernize the grid. If you’ve been too busy these days to keep up with the great daily content, you can look to this monthly digest as the best place to catch up on that most critical content as I highlight the can’t-miss articles from the past month.
The Development of ‘Virtual Power Plants’ is Strengthening Electric Grids and Empowering Consumers
It’s an idea I turn to a lot when discussing the future of utilities, but it’s one that I think is true—before we know it, the grid of tomorrow will only resemble the grid we grew up on. Between smart technologies, distributed generation, and load shifting strategies, the old paradigm of utilities and their customers is right in the middle of a massive evolution. And those changes that come will create immense opportunities for the virtual power plant model, which is the subject of this article by Robert Dillon, Executive Director of Energy Choice Coalition. While VPPs will have many different benefits in optimizing our energy systems, Robert drills down to see the benefits that the end consumers will feel from the VPP shift as they become a partner in the energy process, not simply a customer.
Several Key Articles on Microgrids
Another key area of focus for forward-looking Grid Professionals is, of course, the microgrid. We had several really important articles that were submitted in recent weeks that I wanted to highlight—great reads if you’re not terribly familiar with the microgrid technology as well as if you’re plugged in and want to know the latest ideas and developments.
Rosana Francescato of Clean Coalition assesses the push towards standard tariffs for microgrids in California and what the impact would be to the adoption of the technology and all stakeholders involved in the Golden State.
Lewis Waswa highlights the power of microgrids to bring newfound electrification and reliable power to sub-Saharan African populations that are still left without electricity.
Then to tie it together, Daniel Schwab of Brightmerge summarizes the market values and forecasts related to the microgrid model and what that means for investors, power planners, and more.
Together, these three articles serves as a good crash course on microgrids today and what leaders are thinking and doing to implement them and bring about their benefits.
Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Podcast Episode #21: ‘Could DERs Have Prevented the Utility Turmoil in California This Summer?’ with Kyle Haas of K&A Consulting
Finally, I feel compelled to highlight the latest episode of the Energy Central Power Perspectives Podcast, as it provided a deep dive into current grid struggles in California and elsewhere related to heatwaves, wildfires, and other unpredictable events. Kyle Haas of K&A Consulting walks the listeners through how distributed energy resources (DERs) must be a critical grid asset that we look to in the years to come and assesses the best path forward for practitioners on the grid to empower such advancements.
You can find this podcast at the link above or on iTunes, Spotify, and anywhere else podcasts are found.
This wraps up another edition of ‘Here’s Looking at You, Grid.’ Check back in this spot in four weeks to see what submissions have captured the attention of our community. And if you think there are stories I’m missing—let me know in the comments, or better yet submit an article on those stories so it can be included in the next issue.