HYBRID RENEWABLE SYSTEMS
By BRANDON BOUCHER Co-CEO New Paradigm Energy LLC
ENERGYCENTRAL - Aug 23, 2021 - “It is no longer going to be renewables versus fossil fuels, it is now going to renewables versus other renewables.” This was a quote that I heard at a recent virtual conference and is the encapsulation of why I started my company. The current climate crisis doesn’t need to be one of competition, but one of inclusion and collaboration.
We need to look at the resources available to us in nature and look to align and harness those resources. Thus we can create hybrid Unified Energy Generation (UEG) systems for deployment in a variety of environments. Together we have the opportunity to create a new wave of hybrid energy generation systems that remove the competition from the equation. We look at the topology and the topography of the area surrounding our clients, the available resources, the wind corridor, the amount of sunlight, the current of nearby water, whatever nature has provided to us, and optimize it.
From small wind, micro hydro, tidal, geothermal, biomass, and even hydrogen fuel cell technology, any of these combinations contain the keys to unlocking a hybrid solution that will overcome the dependence we have on fossil fuels. Matching these power generation technologies with a smart controller and a battery storage solution we create decentralized energy resources (DER) into a green microgrid that is capable of providing us with all the energy that we need for our daily lives. Mother Nature has provided us with tools necessary to overcome the climate crisis, we simply need to solve the puzzle we created.
By shifting to a DER model we can take one of the most fundamental challenges out of the equation, that of the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics. The thermodynamic limits of current energy generations means only two-thirds of the energy extracted from current generation actually makes it onto the grid in the form of electricity. The longer the distance between generation and consumption the more energy is lost. If we were able to shorten that distance, having generation, transportation, consumption, and storage all local we create a more sustainable and efficient energy system because we make the laws of physics work for us, not work against it.
One of the biggest perceived obstacles is that solar, small wind, and micro hydro produce power at a different rate and consistency. While that is true, it isn’t a roadblock, but rather an obstacle that can be overcome with technology. An electron is an electron, regardless of its origin. The only problem becomes the harmonization of the wave, to ensure that all of the energy produced can be used efficiently. Cleaning up dirty electricity helps to solve this problem, and that technology can be added to these systems.
With all these factors taken into account, and with solutions to overcome them, we have the opportunity to create scalable hybrid microgrid solutions that can be used for commercial, community, and municipal needs. We also have to ensure that green energy upholds green tech by using the most sustainably produced components within these systems. By combining renewable energy generation systems that complement each other, we create collaboration, not competition, problem solving from a place of unity.
This thought leadership article was originally shared with Energy Central's Clean Power Community Group. The communities are a place where professionals in the power industry can share, learn and connect in a collaborative environment. Join the Clean Power Community today and learn from others who work in the industry.