• 4 minutes Is The Three Gorges Dam on the Brink of Collapse?
  • 8 minutes The Coal Industry May Never Recover From The Pandemic
  • 11 minutes China Raids Bank and Investor Accounts
  • 3 hours In a Nutshell...
  • 9 hours Is OilPrice a cover for Green Propganda
  • 20 hours Putin Paid Militants to Kill US Troops
  • 5 mins During March, April, May the states with the highest infections/deaths were NY, NJ, Ma. . . . . Today (June) the three have the best numbers. How ? Herd immunity ?
  • 13 hours Putin Forever: Russians Given Money As Vote That Could Extend Putin's Rule Draws To A Close
  • 14 hours Victor Davis Hansen on Biden's mental acuity " . . unfit to serve". With 1 out of 5 Democrats admitting it. How many Dem's believe it but will not admit it?
  • 2 days Biden admits he has been tested for Cognitive Decline several times. Didn't show any proof of test results.
  • 12 hours Tesla Model 3 police cars pay for themselves faster than expected, says police chief
  • 2 days Apology Accepted!
  • 19 hours The Political Genius of Donald Trump
  • 2 days Why Oil could hit $100
  • 2 days Per most popular Indian websites it was Indian troops not Chinese troops breach of LAC that caused the clashes. If you know any Indian media that claim to the contrary please provide the link
  • 3 days U.S. natural gas at major disadvantage in Europe and China.
The U.S. Is Missing A Major Energy Opportunity

The U.S. Is Missing A Major Energy Opportunity

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated…

Renewables Could Be The Big Winner In The Post-Pandemic World

Renewables Could Be The Big Winner In The Post-Pandemic World

Although the coronavirus crisis has…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Premium Content

Grid Outages Are History With This Texan Innovation

In a world rushing to customize everything, one Texas company is doing the opposite: it’s standardizing its products in order to offer customers a cheap solution to their power security worries.

Texas Microgrids, the child of local firm Enchanted Rock and Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners, which came into being last month, will install over 50 MW gas-fueled microgrids at 45 locations in greater Houston. And that’s just the start.

Microgrids are nothing new, but the latest Microgrids will be different, the company says.

Instead of the combined heat and power (CHP) generators that currently dominate the Texas microgrid landscape, Texas Microgrids will be installing simple, reciprocating engine, gas-powered generators. The reason: CHP systems are “always custom,” says ERock co-founder, nuclear engineer Thomas McAndrew.

According to him and his co-founder, aerospace engineer Clark Thompson, the clients they are targeting with their new microgrids are not looking for custom-made solutions. They are looking for affordable reliability, hence the drive towards standardization.

The idea of offering microgrids-as-a-service is the novel element in this project. Texas Microgrids will offer its systems in exchange for an upfront payment, and will generate revenues from selling the power they generate when not in use by the client on the local energy market. The microgrid remains its property for the duration of the contract, between 10 and 15 years. Related: Billionaire Investors Back A Gold Price Rally In 2016

This is an amazingly simple offering, guaranteeing to keep the lights on in case of a central grid outage. Still, ERock doesn’t entirely shun customization. On the contrary, it’s ready to add solar and storage, as well as any other relevant service to the microgrid should a client decide they want it.

The MaaS idea will be turned into a reality in less than a year, after relevant permits and interconnections are obtained, the co-founders told Greentech Media. The installation itself only requires as little as a fortnight.

ERock has been in the business of making power distribution systems since 2006, so why did it take them so long to come up with this low-cost and certainly attractive idea? Because gas-powered generators were not reliable enough to satisfy ERock’s clients’ needs. Reliability, says McAndrew, is not just about having a backup generator when the central grid is down. The microgrid also works in times of normal power supply and has to work reliably. Recently, however, generator manufacturers have improved their products, so gas-powered generators have become a viable alternative to the high-cost CHP and diesel-powered generators. Related: The Oil Futures Market Tells Us The Glut Is Over

ERock is very optimistic for the future. It has an extensive pipeline and is eyeing expansion beyond the state line. Unlike its competitors, which typically offer solar plus storage plus backup “behind the meter” packages in the microgrid segment, McAndrew and Thompson say that theirs are real microgrids that can operate either in synchronization with the central grid or on their own when the need arises. Throw in the much smaller cost for installation and connection, and the future starts indeed looking quite rosy for Texas Microgrids.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News