Archive: Distributed Energy

California’s Streamlined DG Interconnection Process Bodes Well for Solar

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week approved a deal involving the state’s major utilities and renewable energy advocates that is  aimed at streamlining the process for connecting distributed generation (DG) resources to the grid. The CPUC’s action will make it easier for small amounts of distributed resources—such as rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems—to connect to the grid. The agreement also revises upward the amount of DG that can be connected to a specific power line segment without the need for supplemental studies.

Smart Grid Award: Customers Motivate San Diego Gas & Electric’s All-Inclusive Smart Grid Vision

“If you build it, they will come” has proven a risky strategy for some smart grid projects. One of California’s largest investor-owned utilities faced the opposite challenge—customers whose behaviors necessitated a smarter grid. Customer involvement in and support for smart grid plans is a major reason SDG&E’s smart grid efforts continue to garner accolades, including the 2012 POWER Smart Grid Award.

The Rise of the Virtual Power Plant

Siemens Infrastructure & Cities and Munich city utility Stadtwerke München (SWM) this April put into operation a virtual power plant (VPP), linking several small-scale distributed energy sources and pooling their resources so they can be operated as a single installation (Figure 1). The project comes on the heels of a February 2012 expansion of a […]

The U.S. Military Gets Smart Grid

At home and abroad, U.S. military microgrid and smart grid projects are driven by energy security concerns. The pace of such projects, however, can be slow, and the potential for civilian grids to benefit from lessons learned and technologies developed for these important installations may be limited.

The Smart Grid and Distributed Generation: Better Together

Electricity grids are slowly getting smarter. Simultaneously, the use of distributed generation is increasing. Though smart grid advocates tout the ability of a smarter grid to enable greater deployment of distributed resources, the benefits could flow in both directions.

The Heat Is On at Arctic Air Base

Thule (“Two Lee”) Air Base is a 254–square mile base located in a coastal valley in the northwestern corner of Greenland, within the Arctic Circle. The base, the U.S.’s northernmost military installation, is nestled between mountains and surrounded by icebergs and glaciers as far as the eye can see.

Smart Grid 2011: More than Meters

The concept of a smart grid may have been born in the U.S.A., but it’s hitting an adolescent growth spurt just about everywhere else first. Meanwhile, in the U.S., both the regulators and companies that see great potential in a smarter grid are realizing that making substantial smart grid progress will first require making both people and policies smarter. There’s one exception, one piece of the smart grid, that could face fewer obstacles to adoption, and that’s because it offers more obvious and visible benefits to its users: electric vehicles (EVs).

GE Launches 9.5-MW Engine for Distributed Generation

A 9.5-MW gas engine unveiled by GE this October for decentralized, independent power producers in remote, hot, or high-altitude regions features a 48.7% electrical efficiency and promises to reduce lifecycle costs by lowering fuel consumption.

Matching Load and Generation at UCSD

“Smart Power Generation at UCSD” explains how the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is maximizing the value of combined heat and power. However, like any other grid-controlling entity large or small, the campus has to match generation and load. Its two Solar Turbines gas turbines operate in baseload mode 24/7 while the cogeneration side of the plant maximizes the value of “waste” heat and electricity that isn’t needed to serve immediate load by generating steam and chilled water for campus heating and cooling.

Microturbine Technology Matures

Microturbine technology has evolved from early systems of 30 kW to 70 kW to today’s systems, which can have individual ratings of 200 kW to 250 kW. Packages up to 1 MW are now available that can be assembled into multipac units for projects of 5 MW to 10 MW. These modern units are packaged with integrated digital protection, synchronization, and controls; they produce high combined heat and power efficiencies; and they are capable of using multiple fuels.