BY EVAN BERGER, CALMAC CORP.
So much of today’s discussions around
microgrids have made the concept seem
complex, expensive, and infeasible without generous government support. But
in truth, microgrids—defined here as
island-able loads connected to onsite
power resources—have existed long
before the term itself gained traction in
the late 1990s.
Across the globe, there are countless
facilities—often manufacturing plants,
data centers, or temperature-controlled
warehouses with no tolerance for down-
time—that have had enough generation
to separate themselves from the grid
for long stretches of time. Typically,
these sites’ resiliency has come from
diesel or natural gas generators, so
neither the facilities managers nor the
energy community at large considers
these to be cutting-edge examples of
But the benefits of resiliency and
islanding capability far exceeds their
cost: in short, these microgrids work.
Even as we look at contemporary, renewable-powered microgrids, we find many
examples of inexpensive and effectively
islanded power networks.
One example of this is the modest microgrid at IMPEL, the Integrated
Microgrid at Navy School Takes Cost-Effective Approach
Evan Berger is director of energy solutions at
Calmac Corp., the world leader in the product
design and manufacturing of thermal energy storage technology. His role
is to help position the IceBank—Calmac’s fagship
product with over 4,000
installations and 500 MW
installed in 50 countries—as a key component of the smart grid. Prior to Calmac, Berger worked at various energy and education
technology companies in fnance and sales.
He has also served stints as an investment
banker, specializing in private placements and
venture capital raises, and as a public interest
energy analyst/lobbyist for energy and water
issues in Washington, DC.