eLab's Innovation Beacon project is designed to help meet the urgent need for greater opportunities for innovation in the electricity sector. Innovation Beacon conducts design charrettes for microgrids, other aggregations of distributed resources, or other relevant economic or deployment issues at the distribution edge. As part of this effort, we will develop case studies of ongoing projects innovating around these issues.
Fort Collins: A Zero Energy District
The first Innovation Beacon charrette was held November 7–8, 2012 with Fort Collins Utilities in Fort Collins, Colorado. The purpose of the charrette was to engage community stakeholders and outside experts to develop new ideas and approaches that will allow Fort Collins Utilities to achieve its aspirations to create a zero energy district and to drive carbon emissions reductions throughout the community faster than would otherwise be possible. The charrette produced important outcomes, including the possibility of a more aggressive goal, new approaches to financing, a tariff concept that could accelerate deployment while equitably addressing costs and benefits, and innovative deployment models. Download the report
Advancing Military Microgrids with the Navy
The U.S. Navy is leading the way in the technical and economic testing and validation of microgrid technology as it looks for new ways to bolster the energy security on Naval bases. Much of the Navy’s leadership in this area will emanate from demonstrations happening in its U.S. bases located in the Southwest. As these bases begin to experiment with the technology, they face several major questions around microgrid design, evaluation, economics, and operation. To begin to address these questions, Naval Facilities Engineering
Command Southwest worked with eLab to understand the need and motivation for a move toward microgrids, evaluating the economics, and taking action to test different microgrid solutions and models. Download the report