Microgrid Resources Coalition Launched at IDEA Campus Energy Conference

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Industry leaders form group to address needed regulatory reforms to unleash resilient energy.

IDEA member campus district energy systems with combined heat and power have been operating as microgrids for years, providing clean, reliable energy to support the critical research mission of their universities.

With over 600 district energy professionals on hand at the 27th Annual IDEA Campus Energy Conference, industry leaders announced the launch of a new coalition to support deployment of microgrids to deliver greater grid resiliency, enhanced energy efficiency and other economic benefits. Founding members of the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) include Princeton University, NRG Energy, ICETEC Energy, Concord Engineering and the International District Energy Association (IDEA).

The MRC’s mission is to support accelerated microgrid deployment by improving the regulatory and market environment for existing and new microgrids. By being able to provide power when the grid is down, and energy savings even when the grid is operating, microgrids meet their hosts’ needs for enhanced reliability, energy savings and reduced emissions, while simultaneously delivering energy services that improve the overall efficiency of energy markets. The MRC will advocate for formal regulatory reforms that recognize and appropriately value these services, while assuring non-discriminatory access to the grid for a wide variety of microgrid configurations and business models.

“IDEA member campus district energy systems with combined heat and power (CHP) have been operating as microgrids for years, providing clean, reliable energy to support the critical research mission of their universities,” says IDEA President Rob Thornton. “This is best exemplified by industry leaders like Princeton University, which maintained operations during Super Storm Sandy while 8 million users across the region were without power and heating. Today, governors, mayors and corporate CEO’s are seeking more resilient energy resources like microgrids for enhanced business continuity and community safety.”

“As customers increasingly seek energy resilience, savings and enhanced environmental performance, we see microgrid deployment really starting to take off,” said Steven Corneli, Senior Vice President for Sustainability, Policy and Strategy at NRG Energy. “Microgrids of various forms will become key distributed components of a smarter, cleaner and much more energy-efficient power system. Innovations in core microgrid technologies like solar, cogeneration, and control systems are happening so fast that microgrids are outpacing existing regulatory frameworks and business models. The MRC will work to ensure our market and other regulatory rules are updated to support microgrids and the new business models that are bringing their benefits to customers and communities.”

“Today’s wholesale market rules and transmission planning were not designed with the dynamic capabilities of microgrids and their tremendous cost synergies in mind,” said Thomas A. Nyquist, Chair of the MRC and Executive Director of Engineering and Campus Energy for Princeton University. “As an owner and operator of one of the world’s most advanced microgrids, Princeton has seen first-hand the benefits these systems provide for our community and the grid. The MRC’s work to bring power market rules and practices up to date so they can integrate and incentivize microgrids with these features is critical to create more value for microgrid hosts, their communities, and the grid as a whole.”

“Campuses and buildings served by microgrids are becoming incredibly responsive, able to respond dynamically to grid operators in seconds,” said Michael Webster, Founder and Chief Technical Officer for ICETEC Energy. “The MRC will seek to ensure microgrid hosts are fairly compensated by the market for their unique capabilities.” Corneli and Webster are the Vice-Chairs of the MRC.

The MRC brings together a broad spectrum of microgrid leaders to identify and seek regulatory reforms needed to ensure that customers, communities and the power grid receive the economic, efficiency, resiliency and environmental benefits of microgrids.

For more information, visit: http://www.microgridresources.com.

Contacts: Robert P. Thornton, IDEA President & CEO (508) 254-7369; Christopher Berendt, MRC Counsel (202) 230-5426; Baird Brown, MRC Counsel (215) 988-3338

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Robert Thornton
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International District Energy Association
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