Innovative Microgrid Project: SkyGrid Energy

Joanna Schroeder

An innovative off-grid water pumping system powered by a Northern Power NPS 100 wind turbine is now benefiting several farmers in North Kohola, Hawaii. This microgrid project, known as SkyGrid Energy, is an alternative to using diesel to generate power. According to Northern Power, the turbine is specifically designed to support microgrids with its sophisticated voltage controls and no inrush NPS SkyGrid Energy microgridcurrent, relieving stress to the system. In addition, the company said the NPS 100’s ability to control reactive power independently of wind speed more reliably meets energy demands, a crucial component of microgrids.

The SkyGrid Energy microgrid has been fully operational since April 2013. In addition to the NPS 100 wind turbine, which is the primary source of energy production, the system also includes a battery bank and solar panels. The system is capable of pumping more than 30 million gallons of water annually and is being used to irrigate 400 acres of agricultural land and support 14 participating farms and agricultural businesses.

The project was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture. Gen‐X Energy Development LLC, the project developer, plans to replicate and deploy this microgrid solution throughout Hawaii and other island communities.

“Besides providing innovation for a better world and helping increase our independence from fossil fuels, the new microgrid is also helping provide a reliable and cost‐effective solution for Hawaii’s agriculture industry. This Northern Power turbine is critical to this microgrid’s success,” said Fred Brown, Gen‐X Energy Development LLC co‐founder.

Alternative energy, Electricity, Microgrid, Wind