Pareto & Policymakers

Power by the people, for the people.

Power outages are up 285 percent since 1984. The U.S. ranks last among the top nine industrialized nations in the average time that it takes to get the light back on after power failures. Outages cost businesses as much as $150 billion a year in lost continuity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Experts and politicians alike are pointing to distributed energy resources as the way forward, and we think for good reason. Over the last two decades, we have worked closely with policymakers in developing effective regulations and strategies for making the electrical grid cleaner and more responsive. Along with our expertise, we now offer GridLink, a technology that can help the industry create the nimble, resilient power grid of the future. With GridLink, DG becomes a least-cost resource to be integrated into a utility's long-term system planning. GridLink connects distributed power sources and coordinates demand-side controls to the grid to provide back-up power during outages or to supplement intermittent renewable resources. The resulting peer-to-peer energy networks, or microgrids, drastically strengthen infrastructure -- no more single-points-of-failure for our electricity -- and co-locate supply with demand, reducing the impact of long-haul energy transmission on the environment.

Challenges of the Grid

  • Long-Haul Transmission

    Long-distance transmission of power in a centralized power grid is vulnerable to single points of failure caused by weather and aging equipment. Additionally, transmission line congestion threatens to reduce the central grid’s ability to serve loads in our increasingly connected world.

  • Local Distribution System

    The local distribution system in American cities is vulnerable to failure due to weather and cyber-attacks. Aging is also a problem as utilities face up to 40 years of deferred maintenance of local wires, substations and transformers.

  • Supply of Power Generation

    Retiring generation will become a problem with some regions already seeing shortages. In 2010, 51% of generating capacity was greater than 30 years old and 73% of coal-fired capacity was over 30 years old.

Until GridLink, each of the available solutions had significant drawbacks:
Description of the Solutions
Limitations of the Solutions
Automated Demand Response Takes pressure off of the utility T&D grid during times of short capacity by making payments to the utility customer to curtail energy use but is not an effective solution for systematic, long term power outages.
Grid Power Supplemented by Diesel and/or UPS Batteries Extremely expensive versus grid rate, can be used in most US cities only during systematic grid power outages and are notorious for poor starting capabilities. For some companies, they also contribute to a poor environmental image.
Grid Power Supplemented by More Efficient Boilers & Chillers Does not provide any reliability benefits but higher efficiencies of new equipment saves on heating and cooling costs and carbon footprints. Market may be limited due to stricter boiler emissions regulations in some cities.
Grid Power Supplemented by CHP that Does Not Island to Provide Uninterrupted Power in Grid Outages Results in significant energy cost savings and, for clients that can bear the risk of damages from power outages due to delayed islanding, can provide a superior and greener back-up option to diesels.
Grid Power Supplemented by CHP that Islands using a Synchronous Interconnection Approach Utility approvals and custom engineering and controls to synchronize can be very expensive and take several years to complete but is the best current solution for customers that would incur high damages due to grid outages.