On-Site Power: Micro-grids & More

Speaking at a March conference on distributed generation (DG), Nicholas Miller of GE Power Systems put forward the concept of micro-grids.Restructuring Today newsletter quoted Miller as saying that "breakthroughs in metering, telephony and computer hardware and software have put smart mini-grids on the horizon—just a few years down the road.

09/01/2001


Speaking at a March conference on distributed generation (DG), Nicholas Miller of GE Power Systems put forward the concept of micro-grids.

Restructuring Today newsletter quoted Miller as saying that "breakthroughs in metering, telephony and computer hardware and software have put smart mini-grids on the horizon—just a few years down the road." This means that DG systems could be managed by intelligent systems, which would help end-users and assist the utility-DG interface.

"The micro-grid's real beauty arises from intelligence offered by integrated IT [information technology] and the automated control of the generation around the grid," said Miller. "The controller decides which units should be operating at any one time and sends out an alert if a problem arises somewhere on the grid."

Twenty plus years to go? Jeffrey Watts, senior vice president and CFO of Capstone Turbine, in a recent interview with The Wall Street Transcript, stated: "The move toward distributed generation is a two- to three-decade opportunity. Huge potential exists in North America."

DG short circuit. The Bush administration's energy plan short circuits DG, according to Natick, Mass.-based Venture Development Corp., a market research firm ( www.vdc-corp.com ). "The plan does not go far enough in stressing the capabilities and importance of distributed generation technologies as a partial solution to the nation's energy crisis, both now and in the future."

DPCA. The Distributed Power Coalition of America, Washington, D.C., has come back to life after a brief hiatus. DPCA leaders met in early June with U.S. Congressmen Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to discuss issues such as getting DG to work faster and streamlining the interconnection process.

Guaranteed output? Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar has a new strategy, according to James Parker, head of the company's electric group. Parker was quoted in the April 21 edition of The Economist as saying, "Instead of merely selling machines, [we] will offer to operate and service them onsite—and sell guaranteed power output."

Real energy. A deal put together by Los Angeles firms GFI Energy Ventures and Global Innovation Partners pools $50 million for new on-site power generation projects in southern California office buildings. RealEnergy, which owns and operates the systems it installs—without financial help from the buildings' owners—was awarded the project.

From Pure Power, Fall 2001.





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