Microgrids could hold key to hurricane recovery – and energy resilience

Microgrids are helping communities in Puerto Rico get back on their feet – but smart systems and ‘energy clouds’ might also contribute to greater resilience in the wake of future extreme weather episodes. Jessica Twentyman reports.

It is five months since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, yet around one-third of the US territory’s residents – some 900,000 people – are still living without electricity.

But for pupils at S.U. Matrullas, a school located in the remote town of Orocovis in the island’s Central Mountain Range, it’s lessons as normal. That’s thanks to the donation of two smart energy-storage systems from German residential battery company, Sonnen. These are paired with a 15 kilowatt rooftop solar system provided by local renewable energy specialist, Pura Energia.

Together, these pieces of equipment form a microgrid that will provide enough energy to keep the school open and supplied with clean, renewable energy – rather than it having to rely on a noisy and far less environmentally friendly gas-fuelled generator.

A microgrid is a small local energy grid with control capabilities, based on connected sensors and other IoT technologies that enable it to operate independently of traditional grids.

The school has been completely off the main supply grids since the hurricane struck in September 2017, and was not expecting to be reconnected for many months to come. Now, school officials reckon they won’t need to reconnect with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), even once the main power supply is restored to the area.

Microgrids post-hurricane recovery and energy resilience
The solar array from Pura Energia installed at S.U. Matrullas school in Puerto Rico as part of a microgrid.

Read more: Analysis: 2018 looks set to see a surge in microgrids

More than just recovery

S.U. Matrullus is the site of the ninth and tenth microgrid systems that Sonnen and Pura Energia have installed on the island since Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico. Others have been installed at relief centres, food distribution centres, and community laundromats, supporting households in areas where water has been contaminated by the Leptospirosis bacteria.

According to Adam Gentner, Sonnen’s director of business development in Latin America, “These microgrids effectively form the blueprint for more than just recovery, but also for preparation for islands and regions around the world that are susceptible to natural disasters and power outages.”

This is an important point: microgrids have a potentially huge role to play, not just in recovery, but also in ongoing energy resilience. And, as seen at S.U. Matrullas, microgrids often incorporate renewable energy sources, and include battery storage, too.

As previously discussed on Internet of Business, microgrids are a huge IoT opportunity, as they’re comprised of equipment that requires sensors, connectivity, and analytics to perform at its best. The smart battery systems from Sonnen, for example, rely on a self-learning algorithm to decide when to charge and discharge the battery, based on data it processes on energy usage patterns, photovoltaic output, weather predictions, and grid tariff rates.

Read more: GE’s Maher Chebbo on the journey to a digitally transformed energy sector

Improving island life

There is a huge opportunity for microgrids and smart systems on the storm-ravaged islands of the Caribbean, which last year had to deal with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in swift succession. Most of these islands operate an energy infrastructure based on one large generator powered by imported fossil fuels, with power transported along above-ground cables. In other words, it’s unnecessarily dirty, costly – and vulnerable.

It follows that sustainable alternatives, such as wind and solar power, could do much to increase resiliency – although it’s worth noting that several solar farms on these islands did get trashed during these storms, so a future based on solar-plus-batteries may not be enough.

But a recent report on Puerto Rico’s energy future seems to agree that microgrids have a big role to play. Prepared by more than a dozen organisations, including the island’s power authority PREPA, it calls for a decade-long plan of improvement programmes that is likely to cost somewhere in the region of $ 17 billion.

In particular, it proposes a two-pronged approach to microgrid adoption. First, critical centres vital to post-storm recovery – such as hospital, police and fire stations, emergency shelters, air and sea ports, and water treatment plants – should operate in isolation as microgrids, using technologies such as combined heat and power systems, rooftop solar, battery storage, and smart energy management systems.

Second, remote communities should have their own microgrids that enable them to operate independently – and remain disconnected – from the larger grid.

Read more: Chirp and EDF Energy team up on power station connectivity project

A resilient and renewables-based future?

One of the contributors to the Puerto Rico report was Navigant Research, which specialises in energy market analysis. It follows microgrids closely, and last week released a report estimating that culmulative spending on microgrid-enabling technologies will reach almost $ 112 billion by 2026.

Navigant analyst Peter Asmus says, “Microgrids represent a key component of an emerging ‘energy cloud’ focused on resilience and renewable energy integration. Biomass, combined heat and power, diesel, fuel cells, hydroelectric, solar PV, and wind represent the lion’s share of potential revenue for microgrid implementation spending, and serve as the backbone of the microgrid value proposition: maximising the value of onsite power generation.”

Internet of Business says

For the 900,000 Puerto Ricans still living without power, resilience can’t come quick enough. The use of renewables, meanwhile, would mean greater self-reliance when it comes to energy generation, allowing them to use the island’s own resources to generate the power its people need.

Smart, connected, distributed energy networks are not just a stopgap solution while traditional infrastructures are being repaired; they can be a radical, better alternative to legacy systems.

Coming soon: Our Internet of Energy event will be taking place in Berlin, Germany on 6 & 7 March 2018. Attendees will hear how companies in this sector are harnessing the power of IoT to transform distributed energy resources. 

Internet of Energy DE

The post Microgrids could hold key to hurricane recovery – and energy resilience appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

Samsung will let people hold the Galaxy S9 in augmented reality — and of course it leaked early

By the time Samsung’s Unpacked event for the Galaxy S9 rolls around, there will be very little (if anything) left to the imagination. We know what it’ll look like, what the specs are, and even have a good idea of the release date. You’ll probably have to wait a couple weeks before you can feel the phone in your own hands, but according to XDA Developers, Samsung is going to let attendees at its Mobile World Congress presser visualize that part with the help of augmented reality.

A capable Reddit user tore down the Unpacked 2018 mobile app and discovered that hidden in the software (for now) is a feature that will let those at the event see the S9 in AR by tapping their phone against their event badge. From there, they can switch between…

Continue reading…

The Verge – All Posts

A leak might’ve revealed when Apple plans to hold its biggest event of 2018

WWDC 2018 Date

It goes without saying that Apple’s annual September iPhone event is the company’s most hotly anticipated press conference of the year. The iPhone is one of the most successful consumer electronics products in history, and people spend the entire year waiting for new iPhone models to be made official in the late summer. In terms of size, however, there’s another Apple event that is far larger than the company’s iPhone unveiling each year.

We’re talking about the annual Worldwide Developer Conference, or WWDC, of course. Apple kicks off WWDC each year with a big keynote, during which the company unveils the next versions of its various software platforms including iOS and macOS, and there are even a few new products unveiled here and there. We still have a while to go before Apple sends out invitations to WWDC 2018 and confirms the dates for the show in the process, but an Apple blog did some detective work and likely revealed exactly when the conference will take place this year.

WWDC is a hugely important event each and every year, but WWDC 2018 is particularly important. Apple has always been known for quality and consistency when it comes to software, but iOS 11 has been anything but typical for Apple. The latest mobile software from Cupertino has been riddled with bugs, security flaws, memory management issues, and other problems that have been driving users crazy. Thankfully, rumor has it that Apple is making it a priority to refine things in iOS 12. In fact, multiple reports have suggested that Apple is delaying some new features until next year in order to ensure iOS 12 fixes all of the issues that have marred iOS 11.

So, when can we expect iOS 12 to finally be unveiled? According to some sleuthing, this year’s WWDC 2018 keynote will be held on June 4th.

MacRumors has a source who says this WWDC 2018 will take place at McEnery Convention Center, which is the same location Apple chose for WWDC 2017 last year. And of course, WWDC takes place in June each year. Well, the blog did some digging and found that McEnery Convention Center is booked during every single week of June except for the first week, which suggests that WWDC 2018 will begin on June 4th, the first Monday in June.

Nothing is confirmed until Apple sends out invitations to the press, of course, but odds are looking good that we’ll see iOS 12 along with everything else Apple has planned for WWDC 2018 unveiled during a keynote presentation on June 4th.

Apple – BGR

In software development ‘cultural shift’, Apple won’t hold features for major annual point-zero releases

Article Image

Rather than packing everything it can into an anticipated "iOS 12" later this year, Apple will reportedly spread out new features into future software updates, meaning "iOS 12.1" and beyond could bring big improvements to the iPhone and iPad.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Huawei to hold an MWC 2018 event after all

Last month we learned that Huawei will not unveil its P11 flagship (or P20, the name is not yet confirmed) at MWC 2018. Today the company announced on its Weibo page that it will still hold an event in Barcelona and announce new products. Huawei is one of the few companies that posted a two-digit growth in tablet market (the other big player being Amazon), so a new Mediapad might be on its way. The company might also announce the official arrival of its payment system Huawei Pay in Europe or a new smartwatch, a successor of the last-year’s Watch 2. Source (in Chinese) |…

GSMArena.com – Latest articles