Renewable Energy Resilience

Nanogrids, Microgrids and Virtual Power Plants

Expert on new energy business models such as nanogrids, microgrids and virtual power plants, covering cutting edge energy and environmental issues for over 25 years.

Filtering by Tag: Renewable Energy

Arctic Circle Hot Spot for Renewables

The market opportunity for remote, off-grid power is immense, as was verified in a report released late last year sizing this market including projects that met Navigant Research’s definitions of both nanogrids and microgrids. According to this analysis, the total value of the assets and services that could flow into this huge global market over the next ten years could reach more than $200 billion.


As was reported in a previous blog, one could make the argument that Alaska, sitting within the Arctic Circle, is a global leader on remote microgrids, with almost 140 such systems identified in the most recent version of the Microgrid Deployment Tracker representing over 900 MW of capacity. The vast majority of these remote microgrids incorporate some level of renewable energy. In fact, Kodiak Island reached nearly 100% renewable energy generation during 2014. Several local utilities have set goals ranging from 70 or 80% renewable penetration within the next 5 to 7 years

It turns out innovation on renewables and remote microgrids is not limited to Alaska. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) is co-leading a new program to be launched this summer for countries whose borders venture into the Arctic Circle. Dubbed the Arctic Renewable Energy Network Academy (ARENA) program, this program is a formal project under the US Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, with 4 of the 8 countries co-leading (so far), including Canada, Finland, and Iceland, along with the U.S. (Alaska). This program is designed to bring together practitioners from throughout the Arctic to learn from one another with the goal of increasing the number of hybrid-renewable energy systems installed across the Arctic.  “ARENA is focused on the Arctic now, but we are hoping to expand it to other regions in the future, if we are able to find some partners,” said Gwen Holdmann, ACEP director. 

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Microgrids: From Apples to Oranges

The chief challenge with putting together the recently published Leaderboard report on microgrids -- our first ranking of companies active in the microgrid market -- was trying to develop an apples-to-apples comparison. I tried to narrow the field to just developers and integrators with their own controls platforms, but there were still lots of grey areas.

What if we were to turn the general assumption for our leaderboard format on its head? In other words, why not an apples to oranges listing? In this blog, I will go out on a limb and highlight three companies not included in our leaderboard report, but which I think deserves special mention due to their near-term impacts on the overall global microgrid market, regardless of what their role is in this market. In my last blog, I already highlighted two companies, a utility (Commonwealth Edison) and an energy storage and smart grid innovator (S&C Electric) not included in the Leaderboard, both being disqualified for inclusion since the ranking excluded utilities and vendors primarily focused on energy storage integration. 

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©2016 Peter Asmus. Photo credit: David Clites. Website by: