EcoMotion Develops Presentation on Carbon-Free Microgrids

Stone Edge Farm, Sonoma County, Microgrid system

Microgrids are all the rage,” says Ted Flanigan, President of EcoMotion. Driven by advances in energy storage capabilities, microgrids are now front and center for schools and other organizations that seek to lessen their carbon footprints, and provide for emergency preparedness in the event of short-term and prolonged power outages. And EcoMotion is currently creating several of them. Coupled with solar energy systems, EcoMotion is designing and financing Carbon-Free Microgrid systems. To share these ideas and gain different perspectives, EcoMotion’s Ted Flanigan, Michael Ware, and Drew Lowell-Britt have developed a one-hour presentation on microgrids, past, present and future. The presentation includes historical perspective, as well as case studies from Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Sonoma County.

A Microgrid can connect and disconnect from the grid to enable electrical operation while either grid-connected or in “island-mode”. A solar power system alone may be able to create its own energy, but without a way to store this energy, the solar generated power must either be used immediately or fed back into the utility grid. This means that when the power goes out, even a building generating its own solar energy will still lose power. When lithium-ion batteries are charged on site, however, they can feed power back into the building when the grid goes down. A Microgrid manages the energy use of its buildings to be able to function independently from the grid for extended periods of time.

EcoMotion is currently focusing on two microgrid projects: one at Santa Rita Union School District in Salinas, California and one at Campbell Union High School District, San Jose. Both aim to allow six schools each to have power and stay in session during power outages. This ensures that students can shelter in place and continue to learn. At Santa Rita Union School District, the challenge has been to create fully financed microgrid system with seven hours of battery storage. Campbell Union High School District requires over eight hours of battery storage and the marginal cost of the new configuration to be repaid.

EcoMotion is developing the plans and strategies to meet all these challenges. Schools will not only be able to better serve their students, but they can also serve the community as Power Emergency Response Centers “PERCs” for long-term outages. Microgrids are becoming increasingly important to energy resiliency to utility grid fluctuations. EcoMotion’s Carbon-Free Microgrid model provides a win-win opportunity for cost-effective resilience, while playing a key role in cutting emissions and carbon footprints.