Blackouts at home are annoying. Blackouts in business can be devastating. Since the dawn of the electrical grid, businesses have largely relied on infrastructure outside their control to bring them a safe, reliable supply of electrical power and fuel for thermal loads.
For most of the industrial age, this energy supply dependency has been unavoidable and, in recent decades, increasingly problematic. Aging grid assets, extreme weather, human error, and cyberattacks have resulted in widespread blackouts that have cost the economy billions. Meanwhile, alternative and distributed energy technologies have matured and become cost competitive with the big, centralized power plants we have relied on up to now.
The alternative can be found in Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells, or CHP (combined heat and power), all of which can provide power at lower costs and with minimal environmental impact. Batteries can store energy that isn’t needed right away and respond instantly when it is. Integrating any two or more DERs with some form of “smarts” (controller or energy management system; computing power and IT infrastructure) forms a Distributed Energy System (DES). And DES are not only here, but here to stay.
One of the most complex forms of DES is a microgrid. A microgrid is a group of DERs and loads that can operate connected to the traditional grid but can also operate in islanded mode (disconnected from the larger grid to operate in a standalone manner, serving all or part of the user’s energy requirements). Depending on the load and criticality of operations, islanding requirements can range from being able to self-power for hours, to weeks, to indefinitely. Thanks to the advances in these technologies, businesses no longer need to be subjected to the power quality, reliability, and resilience problems of the aging and inherently vulnerable centralized legacy grid.
While the technology has advanced quickly, adoption of Distributed Energy Systems has lagged. There are many reasons for this: high up-front feasibility assessment/design costs, difficulties with equipment sourcing, uncertainty in financing, and the need to deal with multiple companies to arrive at a complete solution, to name a few of the main challenges. Overall, the main difficulty lies in the fact that DES and microgrids are by necessity complex and need to be customized to the business needs and commercial priorities of the energy end user.
We’ve all heard the refrain, “If you’ve seen one microgrid, you’ve seen one microgrid.” There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all DES. A challenge, but with a silver lining: productized designs can never achieve the same level of optimization that tailored designs can; and the VECKTA platform enables users to quickly and easily tailor DES, solving in minutes to hours the design work that otherwise takes expensive engineering teams weeks to months to complete.
VECKTA is a cloud-based market platform that serves as a one-stop-shop for all aspects of DES design and implementation. Building on the world-leading DES optimization software of XENDEE, VECKTA ensure DES project bankability, cost efficiency, and transparency throughout the entire project lifecycle.
The world’s most battle tested and proven DES design software, XENDEE does what no other tool can. Unlike simulation-based tools, it eliminates guesswork by finding for the user the least-cost, best-fit system based on the real-world constraints affecting the project—such as location, available space, and load profile—and designs the truly optimal system for any end user’s unique energy needs.
Following the design step, the VECKTA marketplace connects the energy end user with the right specialists, companies, and investors to deliver a complete turnkey DES. The convergence of powerful design software, a worldwide marketplace platform, and deep industry expertise allows VECKTA to support DES projects from concept to completion 90% faster than traditional methods, with greater surety and industry-leading ease of use.
VECKTA is here to help co-create our future together. The fossil-based and centralized energy systems we’ve always known are due for disruption. The future that’s coming is more sustainable, safer, and more distributed. Organizations can adapt and know their energy supply is resilient, cost-efficient, low-carbon, and secure when it matters most—or, remain at risk of downtime, stakeholder disapproval, health and safety hazards, even obsolescence.
Which side of the Energy Transition is your business on? Wherever you are on that journey today, VECKTA empowers you to take control of your energy future.
Written By Tristan Jackson
Photo credits: (Karsten Wurth / UNSPLASH) (Su San Lee / UNSPLASH)