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Microgrids have a dirty past. They were once dependent on diesel generation, one of the dirtiest forms of power generation. Even with the addition of solar or wind it was difficult to cut down on diesel consumption since the generators had to be online for backup. Now with the addition of storage it’s becoming possible to cut down on diesel dependence and bring clean and resilient power to isolated communities and critical operations.
Dr. Peter Lilienthal has been working in renewables, distributed energy and energy efficiency since 1978. He worked at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory from 1990 to 2007, working on distributed power projects and developing HOMER® (Hybrid Optimization of Multiple Energy Resources). HOMER software is used to design, optimize and research microgrids and the mix of energy sources that can be used to power them.
In 2009 Lilienthal left NREL to form HOME Energy and take the software commercial. Since then HOMER has been downloaded by over 150,000 people in 193 countries. Lilienthal and the other leaders of HOMER Energy have been working to optimize microgrids for over 25 years with the goal of empowering people around the world and accelerating the adoption of renewable and distributed energy sources.
In this episode he provides an overview of microgrids and distributed energy resources and tells us how he helped Richard Branson rebuild the microgrid on his island.