Marc Hoffman, CEO
When microgrids entered the utilities space for distributed generation, it was expected to be an instant success. They would function autonomously, reliably, maximize renewable solar and wind power while lowering power costs. A closer look, however, reveals a different story. Despite its touted benefits, microgrids still needed to tackle numerous obstacles to strengthen its footing in the power generation industry. Due to microgrids being small scale, the cost of power generated by these systems is significantly higher than rates most utilities charge. With the rapid growth in solar and wind renewable power with ‘zero’ cost fuel, this was not supposed to happen.
The barrier has been the industry blind spot. Today’s microgrids are powered by diesel or natural gas fuelled fixed speed generators. They assure power is provided at all times and control power quality. Most solar and wind renewable power is tied into these fixed speed generators. Unfortunately, as renewable power exceeds a low level of grid capacity, the fixed speed generators alone cannot keep the grid power stable. The result is crippling. Either renewable power must be curtailed or costly power stabilizers must be added. Turning these challenges into opportunity, Innovus Power developed a breakthrough Microgrid Power Management and Control system that ensures microgrids can always maintain stability so the full environmental and cost benefits of renewable energy can be realized.
This gives Innovus-enabled microgrids the capability to compete with larger grids.
“Currently, the interconnection of high levels of renewable solar and wind power with microgrids have been destabilizing their grids, forcing system operators to curtail, or add in batteries and stabilizers to keep the grid stable,” explains Marc Hoffman, CEO of Innovus Power. The introduction of additional equipment has led to a rise in the cost of power generation in spite of zero fuel costs for solar and wind generation. Through Innovus’s revolutionary platform, system operators can leverage the full benefits of solar and wind power in their microgrids. “Our solutions minimize fossil fuel-based generation while maximizing renewable power to deliver the lowest life cycle cost of power,” adds Hoffman.
By delivering scalable and efficient microgrid systems to power system operators, Innovus Power is building a loyal client base. “For decades, our customers have been looking for solutions that could help them lower fuel costs while better leveraging solar and wind power. They are now able to achieve these objectives through our solutions,” remarks Hoffman.
The CEO recollects an instance where a client approached Innovus Power for assistance in revamping the power system installed in one of its communities. Their prior experience with a solar-fossil generation microgrid was disappointing. Although they were able to utilize renewable resources for power generation, the cost of power was too high, which was unacceptable to their customers and funding sources. With Innovus Power’s Microgrid System in place, the client was able to handle the load demands successfully while reducing fossil fuel-powered energy generation. The client will be adding more solar generation this year with minimal modifications to further reduce cost and fossil fuel dependence.
To better serve communities, the next step for Innovus Power is to expand its reach across Canada to more remote communities and industrial-commercial applications. Innovus can similarly make a major impact in California. The state faces rising energy costs coupled with grid shutdowns to prevent wildfires. The rapid expansion of natural gas power generation with high penetration renewable microgrids is the only solution for the state’s critical industrial and agricultural base. The company is also working toward making power available at lower costs in areas such as Puerto Rico, where the power availability and costs are a major issue. “We are decentralizing and transforming power generation the way mobile and wireless networks changed telecommunications,” concludes Hoffman.