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Barcelona Microgrid workshop

We attended the Microgrid Deployment Workshop 2014 last week in Barcelona, Spain. The workshop, organized by HOMER Energy of Boulder, CO, was a two-day program that addressed business cases, technology mix, and critical steps for deploying microgrid systems in grid-tied, remote, island, and off-grid environments. It was attended by people from 28 countries, representing electric utilities, project developers, regulatory agencies, and manufacturers & service providers for renewable energy production and energy storage equipment.

Chris Stewart, Global Business Development Manager at NPS, presented case studies of two stand-alone island systems in the Island Case Studies session on Monday afternoon. He described successful installations on Over Yonder Cay in the Bahamas and Gasa Island in Korea. Other speakers addressed topics ranging from energy storage alternatives to experiences in developing countries to security and control architectures.

Originally developed at the National Renewable Energy Lab and now licensed to HOMER Energy, the HOMER computer model uniquely supports the front-end engineering design and optimization of hybrid microgrid systems. By simulating the interactions and inherent variability between load demand and renewable energy sources, notably solar and wind, HOMER provides insights unavailable elsewhere. Northern Power has worked with HOMER since its development days at NREL and recently announced a partnership with HOMER Energy, as their first Gold-tier Partner.

The middle-Mediterranean locale of Barcelona was a wonderful setting. Seafood, especially the paella for which the region is renowned, and local Catalan wine made for terrific eating. The Ciutat Vella—the Old City—of Barcelona is a warren of narrow streets with shops and cafes, worthy of more time than we had. For some of us, the never-ending construction of the Basilica de la Sagrada Família, designed by Antoni Gaudí, was as compelling as the feel of the Old City.

From our perspective, the workshop was a success. We identified several specific microgrid project opportunities, met potential partners in complementary areas, and discovered new resources that will be helpful in tracking down developing projects.

–Alan Axworthy, Director, Application Engineering

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