Reliable Power: Why MicroGrids are the Answer - Bob Leigh, LocalGrid Technologies


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Bob Leigh of LocalGrid Technologies, a solution provider at the marcus evans Distribution Technology & Innovation Summit 2014, on what power generation and transmission will look like in the future.
Interview with: Bob Leigh, President & Chief Executive Officer, LocalGrid Technologies

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Reliable Power: Why MicroGrids are the Answer - Bob Leigh, LocalGrid Technologies

  1. 1. Interview with: Bob Leigh, President & Chief Executive Officer, LocalGrid Technologies “Occasional power outages may have been acceptable a few decades ago, but now outages can be more frequent, due to aging infrastructure, and the economic impact higher. Utilities need to focus their effort on providing reliable and fault tolerant power,” says Bob Leigh, President & Chief Executive Officer, LocalGrid Technologies. Leigh expects a decentralized MicroGrid, renewable energy and storage to play a big role in that. LocalGrid Technologies is a solution provider at the marcus evans D is t ri b u t i o n T e c h n ol o g y & Innovation Summit 2014, in Dallas, Texas, 31 March - 1 April. Why are traditional power grid approaches inefficient? They rely on infrastructure designed to generate power in a central location and distributed across long distances to our homes and communities. The problem is that they do not support distributed generation and renewable energy in an efficient way and it is difficult to adapt them to changes in growth patterns and usage. What is the solution? A decentralized MicroGrid, which would allow electrical utilities to even out power generation, increase grid efficiency and results, and better support renewable energy as a generation source. It is about making the grid efficient in the way it produces and distributes power, and optimizing the energy flow on a local and regional level. Network -enabled quality management systems can be utilized to b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d l o a d - s i d e requirements and adjust power delivery in near-real time. Getting the information is one of the biggest challenges in power manage- ment. On a MicroGrid even more data is required, and faster, because you need to be able to plan and react quickly. The infrastructure has been cost prohibitive until now and only when utilities need to replace expensive assets do they start considering the alternatives. The advantage of a distributed MicroGrid system is that it is more flexible and scalable, in terms of being able to add and remove nodes and manage information flow, but this adds the challenge of getting the existing and new infrastructure to communicate with each other, which is where adopting common standards can help. Could the system avoid costly outages? We recently had a once-in-every-five- decades rainfall in Toronto, leaving half the city without power as the substations were flooded. While the substations were getting repaired, utilities were challenged with how they could redirect power to get people back online. Some people were without power for a few days. If the system had been designed around MicroGrids or a more regional topology, we may not be so dependent on these large substations, and some people could have received power from local solar, storage or wind sources. Currently, if the main infrastructure goes down, nothing can be done until it is repaired. Utilities have invested in transmission and distribution infrastructure to handle peak demand and be ready for the worst case scenario, but the capacity that has been built is much larger than what is needed on average. Is that the most efficient to deliver power? If we need to rebuild or replace that aging infrastructure over the next decade or so, it will cost trillions of dollars. Alternatively, traditional centralized generation could be made to handle baseload power requirements, with alternative energy sources, such as solar, biogas and other distributed sources local to the consumer, used to support peak demand. This could lead to saving in the transmission system infrastructure. Any final comments? Look at your grid and what service quality is needed to provide for your customers in the future. To me, a distribution company in the past primarily had to maintain the wires, but the company of the future is going to be operating the grid much more pro- actively. The distribution company of the future is going to be operating the grid much more pro-actively Reliable Power: Why MicroGrids are the Answer
  2. 2. The Energy Network - marcus evans Summits group delivers peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, professional t r e n d s a n d b r e a k t h r o u g h innovations. Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited. About the Distribution Technology & Innovation Summit 2014 This unique forum will take place at The Westin Stonebriar, Dallas, Texas, 31 March - 1 April 2014. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. Contact Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division Tel: + 357 22 849 313 Email: For more information please send an email to All rights reserved. The above content may be republished or reproduced. Kindly inform us by sending an email to About LocalGrid Technologies LocalGrid delivers secure, embedded software for an intelligent Distribution Grid. LocalGrid delivers solutions for utilities and grid operators and our eGridOS™ software provides data collection, real-time analytics and control over a secure distributed network. Our solutions maximize the use of existing energy assets and enable more renewable generation on the grid for a fraction of new infrastructure costs. About marcus evans Summits marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, case studies, roundtables and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit: Upcoming Events Petrochemical & Refining Summit - Power Plant Management & Generation Summit - Wind Power Summit - To view the web version of this interview, please click here: