Why Electrified Transportation Needs Microgrids

Government officials in Montgomery County, Maryland don’t have to speculate about the importance of energy resilience. In 2012 a derecho hit the mid-Atlantic, leading to the deaths of 13 people. The derecho also caused extended power outages for more than 250,000 residents, and this combined with the extremely hot temperatures led to an additional 29 deaths.

In the aftermath of the storm, Montgomery County launched an aggressive effort to improve resilience at its expansive government facilities. Part of the wide-ranging solution the county ultimately settled on and completed last year was to combine electric vehicle (EV) charging with the construction of two microgrids at critical government buildings. 

See the whole article here

US funding body ARPA-E funds research on energy storage lasting for days

New program funnels $28 million to flow batteries, thermal and chemical energy storage, and other long-duration technologies.

Long-duration energy storage — batteries or other technologies that can store energy for at least four hours of continuous operation, or possibly even longer — accounts for a minority of the grid-scale energy storage deployed today.

There are many reasons for this, including the cheapness and relative reliability of lithium-ion batteries for short-duration applications. As well as the, shall we say, less than stellar record of long-duration battery startups that have gone bankrupt or failed to deliver on their promises.  Read more.

ARPA-E will do the same for energy innovation that DARPA did for interenet

Bill Gates wrote:

ARPA-E might be my favorite obscure government agency. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I felt confident about being part of a $1 billion investment fund last year.

The fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, builds companies that will deliver affordable, reliable clean energy around the world. Ultimately, we want to help people escape poverty, promote energy independence, reduce pollution, and avoid the worst effects of climate change. The idea is to invest the private capital that helps entrepreneurs take promising zero-emissions energy technologies out of the lab and into the market. Read more