Here is a link to the cutting edge of electrical technology in the US. Needless to say, that cutting edge is not to be found in WV state government or PSC. State politicians and regulators missed a golden opportunity to initiate microgrid development in WV after the AEP/FirstEnergy blackout of 2009. I even offered testimony to the WV PSC advocating some first steps in using microgrids to protect emergency services when power companies fail to keep their power on.
As you can see from the Renewable Energy World story, other states aren’t waiting around for the power companies to tell them what to do. Connecticut and New Jersey are moving forward.
The rising development of microgrids is the single greatest factor that will drive the energy storage industry, suggests Christopher Kuhl, the team leader for global sales at ZBB Energy Corp., in Menomonee Falls, WI., one speaker at the symposium. “The microgrid is the next step in the value chain of renewables and energy storage. Unfortunately it has taken a couple of disasters to show people what they are worth,” he says. Following the grid outages caused by Hurricane Sandy, several communities and states in New England are developing microgrids for emergency planning. “Connecticut alone is investing $30 million in microgrids now,” he points out. Such emergency planning projects will not be as sensitive to battery cost reduction as more commercial clients, and thus are a strong niche for early adoption.
The cutting edge is now solar PV and storage technology, as well as the microgrid infrastructure we need to build real reliability. I recently purchased new PV panels for my system that were half the price that I paid just three years ago. The same is happening with battery storage technologies.
Meanwhile, WV continues to fall further and further behind, as Ohio power companies dump their obsolete coal plants on WV rate payers.