NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
Submeter Use on the Rise
Low-Carbon Microgrid Coming to Native American Reservation
> BLUE LAKE RANCHERIA is a Native
American reservation in Humboldt
County, Calif. It sits just under 80 miles
south of the Oregon border and 230 miles
north of San Francisco. However, thanks
to a nearby university and some help from
Siemens, this otherwise remote location
is about to be introduced to the latest
The reservation, Siemens and
Humboldt State University’s Schatz
Energy Research Center have joined
forces to build a low-carbon community
microgrid at Blue Lake. This microgrid
will provide power to “government
offices, economic enterprises, and
critical Red Cross safety shelter-in-place
facilities across 100 acres,” according to a
A $5 million grant from the California
Energy Commission’s Electric Program
Investment Charge program will partially
fund the endeavor.
A 0.5-megawatt (MW) solar-photovoltaic installation, 950 kilowatt-hour (k Wh) battery-storage system,
a biomass fuel cell system, and diesel
generators will all power the microgrid.
The Siemens Spectrum Power Microgrid
Management System (SP MGMS)
software used to manage and control these
resources is “operator-free,” meaning it
does not require constant monitoring.
“The project shows the type of
leadership and partnership that
can advance California’s climate
and renewable-energy goals, help
transform our energy system and reduce
greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Karen
Douglas, California Energy commissioner.
“Having a microgrid at Blue Lake
Rancheria—an American Red Cross
Disaster Center and federally recognized
Native American Tribe—can increase
public safety in emergency situations, and
the Rancheria will benefit from it year-
round by having renewable energy to use
and technology that can store it.”
“When the tribe started working on
climate issues, it had a vision of powering
the Rancheria with renewable resources,”
said Jana Ganion, Rancheria energy
director. “With this project, that vision is
The microgrid is planned to be
operational by fall 2016 and is estimated
to reduce 150 tons of carbon annually.
—MAT T KRAUS
> THE CONVERGENCE of digital communication and energy
efficiency has encouraged the growth of a variety of niche
industries and platforms.
A recent report projects rapid growth in one of these
once-obscure platforms. In August, the Boulder, Colo.-based
market research firm Navigant Research released “Electric
Submeters,” which cites a number of contributing factors to the
growing use of this technology.
According to the report, demand is increasing for what it
describes as “holistic energy-management solutions.” That can
best be described as an approach that considers and manages
all factors in a building’s energy consumption in detail. The
report adds that electric submeters facilitate that approach
because of the data they provide.
In more technical terms, Casey Talon, senior research analyst
with Navigant Research, said, “submetering is a crucial component
for attaining the granular energy-consumption data that enables
energy-management software and services to generate actionable
insights and facility and organizational changes.”
The Navigant report points to a number of technology trends
that are contributing to the growing demand for submeters.
They include the Internet of Things (Io T), cloud computing and
the adoption of mobile devices.
Driven by the intelligent-buildings market and the need for
such practices as tenant-level billing in multifamily housing and
commercial real estate, the report explains that submeters are
especially helpful for customers interested in billing allocation
and energy-efficiency improvements.
The report adds that, while submeters are already
“commoditized,” many new types of metering devices that use
wireless communications and new form factors are also catching
on. Global revenue from electric submeters is projected to grow
from $949.7 million in 2015 to $2.5 billion by 2024.
—RICK LAEZMAN LEV
“The project shows the
type of leadership and
partnership that can advance
and help transform our
energy system and reduce