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Distributed Energy Gains Momentum With Mobile Microgrids, Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

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A set of recent policy and technology advances has enabled the growth of distributed energy resources (DER) in the United States, fueling innovative approaches such as transportable microgrids and vehicle-to-grid programs. .

A DER is a decentralized energy production and distribution network, typically made up of many small units that produce renewable energy and generate electricity on a small scale and independently. This means that large power plants such as gas, coal, nuclear, hydro and renewables form the hub of a highly centralized power generation system where individual plants serve very large geographic areas. Different from the current model.

“DERs typically located close to the communities they serve offer flexibility to their customers and may also offer value to the wholesale grid,” wrote Utility Dive. “DER will help support reliable power grids and deliver the benefits of cleaner power generation, lower prices and increased competition.”

Regulatory changes in the United States will move DER forward, help states meet their emissions reduction goals, and overcome the limitations of aging energy infrastructure. Historically, U.S. regulations on wholesale electricity markets were developed for conventional energy sources that operate on a large scale. DERs are often excluded from participating in energy markets because they typically cannot scale to conventional energy systems. However, a 2021 mandate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) aims to facilitate DER market participation by allowing resource pooling to meet minimum scale thresholds. , reports the New York University School of Law. The FERC has responded to the first compliance filing related to this his June order.

“As more customers and policy makers move to DER, full participation in the wholesale market will bring additional benefits,” said Utility Dive.

While policy changes are beginning to take effect, new DER technologies for powering microgrids are becoming increasingly available from international start-ups. In Spain, a solar energy company recently installed a portable photovoltaic system with a capacity of up to 6.5 kilowatts, he said PV Magazine. The system features retractable panels that are transported by retractable trailer and can be “transformed into a ‘full-fledged removable solar micro farm’ within an hour.” Among other potential applications, the PolarGreen Tow system can power a car, scooter or e-bike, and provide energy support for homes during power outages.

Another recent development designed by Enerware Sustainable Energy DMCC, a Dubai-based solar development company, is to install “mobile solar plus storage units” in off-grid locations such as oil and gas fields, construction sites and disaster areas. It offers. Enerware says the unit, which takes two hours to set up, can be moved and relocated every two weeks and is capable of running 8 to 10 hours on 100% renewable energy, PV Magazine said. reporting.

Similarly, US-based Sesame Solar has developed a portable nanogrid on a 20-foot trailer loaded with solar panels, battery packs and green hydrogen fuel cells. As a portable, self-contained energy generation system, nanogrids can be mobilized in disaster areas to power emergency operations without relying on air-polluting diesel generators, says BNN. Bloomberg writes.

said John Hewitt, vice president of broadband communications at EnerSys. “We built one to not only provide wireless access, but to power mobile showers and toilets for first responders.”

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) programs also show promise to support grids during periods of high demand or low supply.

“The idea is that electric vehicles can act as a mobile microgrid that can help power the grid or reduce power consumption when the grid is under load. It can also be used when you need power to replace power generation,” explains Microgrid Knowledge.

“The car is a mobile storage asset. Revel is one of three companies in Brooklyn, New York that he is working with on a V2G pilot program. “We are working with our utility, hardware and software partners to pilot the technology and are learning.”

While similar pilots are underway in other states, the Brooklyn-based trial will use three Nissan Leaf EVs that power New York energy company Con Edison to power Vehicle-to-Grid testing the concept. But to ensure the success of these programs, we will ultimately need more use of two-way vehicles and chargers, as well as incentives from local power companies for EV owners. When it comes down to it, says Adam Cohen, chief technology officer at NineDot Energy, another company participating in the pilot.

The promise of the V2G program comes after several major companies last year petitioned Congress to help electrify their vehicles with funding from President Joe Biden’s 2021 Infrastructure Bill to escape notification of U.S. corporate interests. Is not … But while the company acknowledges that the subsidy could be a useful starting point for his EV industry, it also creates an industry value stream by maximizing the potential of EVs as a grid resource. Utility Dive says more needs to be done to ensure that

David McCreadie, EV Data and Energy Services Manager at Ford Motor Company, said: A small portion of the battery every day for mobility. This presents a huge opportunity to leverage these vehicles as an asset to the grid and even to the customers themselves. ”