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The hope invested in rural microgrids deserves better returns

Microgrids—distributed systems of localised generation, distribution network and load—are being increasingly deployed particularly in rural areas of emerging and under-developed countries to achieve energy access. However, a “fragmented and unorganised” sector still faces significant challenges, writes Harsh Thacker.

What on earth would we do without net metering?

For over a decade, net metering has been a crucial component of the economic puzzle for renewable energy, allowing both residential and commercial rooftop PV owners to realise favourable returns on their solar equipment investment. John Merritt of Ideal Power Conversion looks at some of the arguments and counter-arguments and says solar-plus-storage could be the natural successor to the policy - starting at commercial and industrial (C&I) level.

Where micro-grids, emerging markets and flow batteries intersect

Energy storage could have a ‘highly critical’ role to play in emerging economies, Aloke Gupta of Imergy Power Systems says. Gupta, who was previously with California’s Public Utilities’ Commission, the state’s regulator, talks about the uses and applications of micro-grids, from his vantage point of view as a flow battery and storage system maker.

Energy storage for fast, flexible enhanced frequency response

Battery energy storage used on the grid for ancillary services has been gaining momentum ever since the United States changed its frequency regulation markets by introducing a concept known as pay-for-performance. Roger Lin of NEC ES takes a good look at how this space is evolving, as the UK’s National Grid prepares a 200MW tender for enhance frequency response.

How many solar jobs in Britain will be saved by energy storage?

It seems increasingly likely FiTs for solar and other government support mechanisms will be heavily cut in the UK, with job losses already taking place and more seeming inevitable. At first storage seemed like a simple solution for installers and the wider industry to shift its focus - even if only temporarily. UK renewable energy recruitment specialist David Hunt of Hyperion Executive Search, himself a former solar installer, takes a closer look.

Electric vehicles won’t eliminate urban air pollution - but they could help (a lot)

Since 2010, the cost of lithium-ion battery packs for electric vehicles has dropped 60%, from $1000 to $400 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) according to analysis by BNEF. At the same time, concerns regarding urban air pollution and our need to deploy zero emission vehicles in these cities are increasing. Melissa C. Lott takes a closer look at how EVs could help - and what the limitations might be.