Puerto Rico shines a bright light on the shortcomings of the world’s electricity infrastructure

On August 7, 2018, an untrimmed tree fell on an electrical transmission line in Puerto Rico, leaving 130,000 people in San Juan without power for an hour and a half. Big deal, right? When compared to the immense and long-lasting damage done to the island’s grid by Hurricane Maria the year before, a brief power… Read More

Microgrid powered neighborhoods are a real thing – how can we get more of them?

Imagine a neighborhood powered entirely by local energy. Shared solar panels, energy efficient homes, and community batteries to power houses at night. Even when the grid is down, lights and air conditioning will keep running without a hitch. While this vision remains a rarity, it is starting to happen. The Reynolds Landing Smart Neighborhood in… Read More

How do you know if a microgrid makes sense for you?

Microgrids are the epitome of Local Energy. As the name suggests, microgrids are miniature versions of the big grid. They generate their own power and they have their own loads. And, if the grid goes down, microgrids continue to operate in what the industry calls “island mode”. Even though there are only a few thousand built so… Read More

Three ways to reduce the risks of cyberattacks on the electric grid

As the cyberattack on the Ukraine grid showed the world, electric utilities are the new target for cyber terrorism. A survey conducted by the website Utility Drive reflects the industry’s rapidly growing concern. In 2015 and 2016, utilities ranked threats from physical and cyberattacks as their sixth largest challenge. In 2017, these threats jumped to number one.… Read More

Montgomery County Maryland didn’t have the budget for their microgrid so they invented a new business model

It was the summer of 2012 and the Mid-Atlantic was being pummeled by one of the worst storms in years. This was the second summer of heavy thunderstorms and squalls to come through Montgomery County, Maryland, in as many years.  The county leaders were scrambling to dispatch police and emergency workers. But with so many… Read More

Three steps that will help Puerto Rico’s grid survive the next hurricane

On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Puerto Rico and left a million people without power. Two weeks later, on September 20, Hurricane Maria finished off the job and destroyed nearly 100% of the island’s grid. In early October, the governor, Ricardo Rosselló, optimistically predicted that 95% of the power would be restored by mid-December. But,… Read More

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A TED talk on accelerating the shift to clean energy

Electricity powers nearly every aspect of our modern, convenient lives. It’s so pervasive and easy that most of us take it for granted. But just behind the common electric outlet lies a system that is expensive, insecure, and, worst of all, dangerously dirty – the grid. For example, clean energy from the sun and wind… Read More

Four takeaways from the Microgrid 2017 conference

Microgrid 2017 is a 3-day, deep dive trade conference attended by equipment companies, operators, universities, government officials, researchers, financiers, regulators and just about anyone else thinking about the cutting edge of the power industry. Up from last year’s attendance of 150 people, this year’s event was sold out at 460 people. While the attendance is… Read More