by Suzanne Maxx
World Team Now found a rare opportunity in New York State for our renewable energy demonstration project after exploring projects in California, Colorado, Hawaii, and other islands, for the whole World Team project’s development. We searched for a project to team-up on, and lead with the goal to serve a local community to show a real big change. The project that is moving fast forward is rooted back in New York, in the town of Orangetown. We have teamed up extraordinary partners and are now leading the community project the “Orangetown Green Microgrid”.
The NY Prize and more…
New York happens to be leading with very interesting and creative approaches to renewable energy policy, and public adoption with both the New York Prize and the efforts to Reforming the Energy Vision, (REV) – both of which are designed to be game changers for energy generation with utilities, and for communities. We were looking for the right opportunity to execute the plan to deploy multiple renewable energy distributed generation systems, and link them together within a community, to make a model for others around the world to replicate for greater energy independence. Our goals happen to now coincide with numerous funding opportunities, such as the NY Prize for Microgrids, among other programs in New York State, and nationally.
World Team Now is planning to create a distributed energy community demonstration project, called a “microgrid”, that will be part of World Team’s pilot project to bring many potential benefits besides economic savings to the town of Orangetown.
For those who wonder what is a microgrid? The Department of Energy’s (DOE) defines a microgrid as;
“A group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (DER) with clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid [and can] connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both grid connected or island mode.”
The community microgrid will band together facilities in the region to support one another’s energy capacity by creating connected electricity generation, energy systems, energy storage, and loads, so the interconnected group can team up to survive independently on its own, by disconnecting from the utility’s electrical power grid. The microgrid is capable of operating continuously with a choice of both grid-connection and “island” mode. The resiliency of the microgrid is critical to society, for backup energy generation. This is particularly valuable to all stakeholders, especially during extreme weather events and emergencies, providing an option to disconnect and support vital public services and power to residential customers and critical operators such as hospitals, first responders and water treatment facilities when the utility’s grid is challenged.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) has announced the availability of up to $40,000,000, under the three-stage NY Prize Community Grid Competition (NY Prize), to support the development of community microgrids. A community microgrid is where the interconnected set is in a community, like a town center.
Our Orangetown Green Microgrid
World Team Now has assembled an outstanding team of electrical and mechanical engineers, construction firms, contractors, and best-of-breed microgrid technology suppliers.
The Orangetown Green Microgrid plans to be centered on the civic, police, fire department, water and sewage facilities, communication facilities, schools, colleges, commercial buildings, such as conference centers, shopping centers, large stores, hotels, companies, office parks, gas stations and data centers. The town’s properties are being evaluated in accordance with the considered development striving to bring the town additional revenue from land use with the potential for renewable energy generation. Existing backup generators will be considered as distributed generation or load reduction resources. Renewable energy technologies will be evaluated to replace existing systems or we will add new renewable energy generation facilities to reduce the carbon footprint of the overall microgrid and provide energy to balance demand. Energy efficiency technology will be evaluated for all participants to reduce demand. Energy storage will be evaluated in key locations to load shift to balance out load. Interconnection cables, switchgear, power electronics, command and control equipment, data communication, control & optimization software will be added to tie the microgrid together, to operate, and make intelligent decisions in real time.
World Team Now’s Journey on the Orangetown Green Microgrid
Early in the fall season of 2014, I remained in New York after our efforts with the People’s Climate March and the UN General Assembly, we found this opportunity for our World Team project. World Team Now’s VP and Director of Technical Strategy, Albert Boulanger’s work at Columbia University’s Center for Computational Learning Systems (CCLS) had their computer servers in Orangetown at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where he worked prior. Since our focus is energy efficiency, we saw an opportunity here to explore the concept of bringing a campus to net zero energy usage. That processes lead us to Orangetown, New York as one initiative the Earth Observatory could do is to join a community microgrid.
The town of Orangetown had our community microgrid proposal on the Town Board meeting’s agenda up for a board vote on April 15th 2015. The first time we presented to the town of Orangetown the opportunity raised a lot of questions about this new concept of a community microgrid.
We got a sense of the community of Orangetown as the locals turn out had filled, not only the meeting auditorium, but the outside hall with people of all ages for core community issues at stake. Our World Team project, with World Team Now in the lead for the NY prize was up for a board vote.
Scott Frank, John Bellacicco, Albert Boulanger and I spoke for power resiliency, savings, through our “Green” campaign with our community distributed energy microgrid. Andy Stewart, the Town Supervisor, of Orangetown made the motion for our community microgrid – he truly has championed this project for the community. We needed a majority vote out of the five board members. It was seconded, but then two board members, voted “No”, and the last board member to vote, who broke the tie, elaborated on his reservations, and at the end said, “Some other town will take the money if we don’t, so I vote, yes”. We got the majority, a victory! But it gives us a sense of the challenges ahead launching World Team here in Orangetown, and actually doing the project with the multiple renewable energy thrusts. For now, we are doing the first stage – applying for the feasibility study and assessment proposal for the community microgrid.
Orange and Rockland Utility Inc., gave us a letter of support to proceed with the community microgrid after a successful meeting where we presented our team, and our Orangetown Green Microgrid concept.
At World Team Now’s core, we “Team-up” to demonstrate how our species can live in better balance with our resources. We go at projects using the principle of building leading teams, joining up leading companies, individuals, communities and entities for a more holistic approach to a project. World Team Now is using its expansive network of renewable energy expert advisers to help shape its execution team along with our Honorary, Emeritus, and Advisory Board Members – our website soon will reflect many of the people on board.
The World Team project has a quarter of a century of development, which includes a team of leading thinkers connected to innovative renewable energy technology, Intellectual Property and our media platform. We plan to make our Green microgrid economic and ecological, “ECO” friendly. The countdown to World Team’s media platform and pilot has started! Our goal, to actually tell-a-vision, could be a model for many other communities, and ideally our whole world. But the reality is you all, who have helped us to preserve over the years, the team that has believed in the vision—is to who we owe deep gratitude. Thank you for being able to see the possibility of our World Team project, which is indeed what makes T.E.A.M. work; vision and action together. Thank you! Journey on…