Power Plant of the Future is Right in Your Home

If we want more renewable energy, our grids will have to manage themselves. A small experiment in Colorado is lighting the way.

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Wired magazine — April 7, 2020 — 

KATELA MORAN ESCOBAR has always dreamed of being a homeowner, but she never imagined her first house would double as an energy experiment. Last July, Escobar and her family moved into Basalt Vista, a new affordable housing project in the small town of Basalt, Colorado, just north of Aspen. The development is a bulwark against the skyrocketing housing prices in Roaring Fork Valley, but it’s also a living laboratory to test advanced power grid technologies that could turn every home into an appendage of a decentralized power plant.

Basalt Vista is designed to be an all-electric community that produces as much power as it uses. Each home comes outfitted with an electric vehicle charger in the garage, a large battery pack in the basement, and a roof covered with solar panels. The homes are linked together as a microgrid, a self-contained electricity distribution network that can operate independently of the regional electric grid. Their energy systems work together to balance the energy load across the neighborhood—the solar panels harvest energy, plugged in EVs can store electricity as needed, and large battery packs can supply power when the sun isn’t shining.

But what makes Basalt Vista’s microgrid unique is that it autonomously allocates power. There’s an internet-connected control box in the basement of each home running experimental software that continuously optimizes electricity distribution across the microgrid and the flow of energy to and from the larger regional grid. When one home produces more energy than it needs, it can autonomously make the decision to redistribute it to its neighbors or store it for later. “We don’t have to deal with any of the machinery,” says Escobar. “The house works all by itself.”.....

[Read the Entire Article at https://www.wired.com/story/the-power-plant-of-the-future-is-right-in-your-home/]

About HCE

Founded in 1939, Holy Cross Energy is a non-profit rural electric cooperative that provides safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy and services that improve the quality of life for more than 43,000 members and their communities in Western Colorado. We are committed to leading the responsible transition to a clean energy future. For more information on HCE and our future objectives, please visit https://www.holycross.com/seventy70thirty/.