The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has engaged nine experts in fields ranging from transportation and water infrastructure to societal dimensions of disasters to further its ongoing effort to draft a disaster resilience framework for U.S. communities. GridIntellect Founder Stuart McCafferty was among them.

Recognized leaders in their fields, NIST’s new disaster resilience fellows were chosen to complement the knowledge and skill sets of agency researchers developing the framework—a guidance document to help communities prepare for hazardous events and to restore vital functions quickly if disruptive incidents occur.

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By Stuart McCafferty and Kevin Brown

Introduction

Back in January, GridIntellect’s Chief Scientist, Kevin Brown, and I were approached by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to pen an article on MicroGrids. If you read through all our blogs, you know that we have some opinions and pointers on a variety of smart infrastructure modernization topics, but mostly on MicroGrids. Later that month, Kevin and I sat down over a few frozen margaritas in beautiful Marathon, FL (while everyone else in the country was FREEZING) and we talked about a lot of different topics, but mostly about DC power, renewables, and (of course) MicroGrids.

Both Kevin and I love utility companies. They not only provide very reliable and affordable AC power, they have also been the source of a good portion of our consulting business over the years. We are also huge fans of renewable energy and storage primarily due to their environmental and resiliency/sustainability benefits. So, if you listen to the standard opinions of others, these are opposing, almost mutually-exclusive thought processes. We just simply don’t believe that. We believe that if you start at the loads and use them to determine the optimal generation resources, the solution becomes self-evident and fully supports a coexistence paradigm that benefits all parties – utilities, end users, renewable energy advocates, independent power producers, and regulators.

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This is definitely a different article and subject area than my regular stories on Microgrids, renewable energy, and the federal government’s energy-related activities.  However, after reading it, many will walk away thinking MicroGrid solutions are more viable than ever . . .  And, people that know me know that I’m not a “chicken little” and I regularly complain about some very notable cyber security mouthpieces that identify and teach where and how to exploit vulnerabilities, but offer little or nothing in the way of solutions.  So, I enlisted my friend and fellow zoomie graduate, Andy Bochman from Bochman Advisors, to help with content, fact-checking, and editing support.  Here’s some background on why we felt compelled to do some research, make some phone calls, and write this story.

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By Stuart McCafferty

The concept of developing local MicroGrids to support organizational missions is a current topic of interest in Board rooms, campuses, utilities, and city councils. The truth is that MicroGrids are not cheap, require a lot of careful design, require ongoing operations and maintenance expenditures, and are not always the optimal solution. In a previous article, I discussed the “the 6 things to consider” when developing a MicroGrid, and provided some practical questions to answer before investing a lot of time and money. Any major power investment like a MicroGrid should not only support the organizational objectives, but it should also provide benefits to the power consumers – the “customers”. This article does not represent an exhaustive list, but instead provides some of the more common and provocative customer benefits when considering a MicroGrid solution for your organization.

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By Stuart McCafferty

For the past several years the military has been installing renewable energy assets, primarily solar, to reduce its dependency on traditional generation sources. Federal mandates have accelerated the pace that DoD installations have added solar and wind plants in a race to be compliant. The Energy Initiative Task Force (EITF) is the Army’s responsible organization for identifying, prioritizing, and coordinating large-scale renewable energy of 10 MW and greater. The Civil Engineering Center leads the renewable energy program for the Air Force, performing similar roles to the Army’s EITF. The Navy has established Task Force Energy which is responsible for the overall energy strategy both onshore and at sea, and is supported by the tactical Navy Energy Coordination Office (NECO) responsible for implementing the strategy. Bottom line, there’s a lot going on and the US military is taking energy very seriously.

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By Stuart McCafferty

As the technology matures and the risks decrease, Microgrids continue to be one of the most exciting and talked-about opportunities for companies, campuses, utilities, and government. Microgrids offer a variety of compelling business opportunities to help meet organizational mission requirements, participate in the electricity markets, increase energy surety/resiliency, and incorporate renewable energy resources. The conundrum is that there are many, many ways that a Microgrid could be designed, and a design that was optimized for one organization in one location is highly unlikely to be optimal somewhere else.

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