New Year’s Resolutions for the Microgrid Industry from 4 Leading Companies
What needs to be done in 2019 to spur more microgrid growth? We asked four microgrid industry leaders – Ameresco, S&C Electric, Schneider Electric and Siemens. Here are their New Year’s resolutions, lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
Will Agate, Ameresco’s vice president – microgrid services, expects 2019 to go down as another game changer for the evolving microgrid industry, but says the industry needs to focus on three priorities to reach its full potential.
Will Agate, Ameresco
Engage public utilities and independent system operators
As our industry works on developing scalable solutions, we need to continue engaging with existing public utility companies and independent system operators (ISOs). Within the public utility universe, the spectrum of differing strategies, initiatives, actions, and opinions is very diverse, making it more challenging to determine when microgrid solutions will be accepted. One of the microgrid industry’s highest objectives must include a concerted effort to build the conversation as to how microgrids can help the public utility and ISOs address the changing business environment. This effort will continue with the public utility sector, itself, in determining ways that utilities can identify and add microgrid solutions to their own business offerings.
Understand the value of resiliency
While this issue on its face appears obvious, we believe that this subject is to a certain extent “the elephant in the room.” Starting with the easiest of applications — determining the value of resiliency for a single, industrial user — is rather straightforward, as the math usually and simply comes down to how much revenue is lost, per hour or per day, if power is lost. But, when uncovering the full value of the more complex microgrid opportunities — such as multi-user, school-institution or community microgrids — the question becomes much more complex. External variables such as climate change will likely also influence the importance of resiliency. Ameresco will be prioritizing research and efforts to address this consideration during 2019.
Continue to collaborate among a wide variety of stakeholders
To grow the influence of microgrid solutions in the broader marketplace, the wide universe of solutions providers need to continue engaging with one another. One of the reasons that Ameresco is a technology-agnostic developer and owner of energy systems, is our appreciation that we need to continue learning from many qualified technology providers. We appreciate that the engineering services professions and academic research and development communities are constantly developing new design and applications. The existing electric supply industry understands the challenges and desired new business outcomes better than anyone. The work of Microgrid Knowledge — via its conferences and publications — is one of these important ways that all of us can stay committed to this important priority.