Distributed Energy Storage Systems: Page 2 of 6

Darren Hammell
Cofounder and chief strategic officer, Princeton Power Systems, princetonpower.com

What types of solar-plus-storage microgrids can Princeton Power Systems support?
We focus on 10 kW–5 MW commercial and industrial systems, including interactive microgrids and islanded systems. We can accommodate dc-coupled PV arrays and ac-coupled microgrids, and we specialize in systems that use advanced batteries. Our power converters are UL-listed for on- or off-grid operation and enable rapid synchronization with generators.

What are your fastest-growing markets and business applications?
California, Hawaii, Texas, New York and New Jersey are the US states with the fastest-growing markets. These are primarily grid-interactive applications, which use energy storage for demand management or solar plus storage for resiliency. In the Caribbean and Africa, we are installing many independent island systems where solar replaces generators as the primary energy source to improve reliability, reduce emissions and lower costs.

What is the role of your Energy Management Operating System (EMOS)?
The EMOS is the software that ties the various components of the microgrid together. While every microgrid is different, the EMOS architecture allows us to configure each of the components for optimal operation. We can complete the initial programming and configuration in a matter of days, and we often provide an EMOS hub workstation that island operators can use to monitor and reprogram the system locally. EMOS is compatible with many cloud-based asset management services that can remotely monitor and dispatch the microgrid as needed to provide the host site, utility or regional grid operator with the maximum value and reliability.

Do you think distributed energy storage is a threat to incumbent utilities?
If we define an incumbent as a utility that is not willing and able to adapt its business model, then distributed energy storage could be a death sentence. However, utility companies are in a great position to take advantage of these technological advancements by adopting and deploying distributed energy storage.

What can utility regulators do to improve cost recovery for microgrids and distributed energy storage solutions?
Several utilities have recently published findings about the tremendous value that distributed storage has to their operations. Generally speaking, the closer storage is to the end user, the more valuable it is. However, the value of storage accrues to various parties. For example, a business owner can get backup power from the same battery bank that helps the utility offset peak demand. Regulators need to ensure fair compensation to all parties for these services. There are many ways to accomplish this, most of which involve unconventional models of sharing assets, such as lease buyback programs and other financial tools.

John Jung
Chief executive officer, Greensmith, greensmithenergy.com

What energy storage products and services does Greensmith offer?
Greensmith is a provider of grid-scale energy storage software, as well as an integrator of grid-scale storage systems. Our GEMS software platform optimizes the performance of grid-scale energy storage systems, including batteries, inverters and other hardware. Our software customers include utilities, independent power producers and renewable energy facility owners. As an integrator, we delivered one-third of the energy storage capacity installed in the US in 2014, as well as the single largest battery-based power system deployed globally last year.

How can software address grid integration issues for variable renewable energy resources and distributed energy storage systems?
Energy storage software is positioned to address resource intermittency, the CA-ISO “duck-curve” graph, backfeed issues, curtailment of renewable energy generation and grid instability. Software facilitates application stacking by allowing owners to program their systems to perform multiple applications. It also enables fleet management by allowing operators to manage geographically dispersed energy storage assets via SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition] systems.

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