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Department of Energy


Nextek CEO Paul Savage is Keynote Speaker at Microgrid Summit


Nextek Power Systems Inc. CEO Paul Savage will be a keynote speaker at Microgrid Global Summit 2014 in Newport Beach, CA on May 22. His speech, “DC Microgrids and the Internet of Things,” will address some of the business and technological challenges that face microgrid energy stakeholders. The four-day event will bring an international constituency from around the world to share insights regarding best practices and lessons learned in a truly global forum.

Event themes include:

  • What are the business models for key stakeholders?
  • What are the essential value propositions?
  • What regulatory changes will be required?
  • How can microgrids integrate with existing operations?
  • What are the latest enabling technology advances?
  • How can we best work together to move forward?

The Global Summit is intended for professionals at utility organizations of all varieties who wish to meet the microgrid opportunity head-on. This includes investor owned, municipal, and co-op energy providers in major metropolitan areas around the world as well as in rural and remote / off-grid environments.

The event is produced by the Advanced Power and Energy Program of the University of California at Irvine, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, CleanTechOC, Navigant Research, the U.S. Department of Defense, and a variety of other organizations.


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Nextek CEO Helps Make the Case for DC Power

The use of renewable, efficient DC power is rapidly increasing in enterprise locations such as corporate, educational and government campuses, and its future in both commercial and residential applications is bright. Nextek Power Systems CEO Paul Savage (a founding member of the EMerge Alliance®) was among the presenters in a recent webinar on “Direct DC Power Systems for Efficiency and Renewable Energy Integration.” The event was sponsored by the Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program.

Renewable energy accounted for 14.3 percent of the domestically produced electricity in the United States in the first six months of 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly. Forecasts predict it will grow to more than 20 percent by 2030. Increased residential use could push that figure much higher, and Nextek and the companies it collaborates with are working towards both goals.

Mr. Savage spoke on Nextek’s work to develop standards for the equipment and systems that are emerging for real-world use. To see the slide presentation he offered for the webinar, visit the government’s Energy Efficient Standards web page, and scroll to “Attachments.”

The rationale for greater dependence on DC power is strong. More and more devices, ranging from computers to smart phones to appliances, incorporate semiconductors, which run only on DC power. The increased use of electric vehicles, which can be charged using DC power, adds to that use. The power loss that results from converting AC power from the electrical grid to DC is large, and the production of AC power replies heavily on depleting resources such as oil and coal. However, much DC power can be generated from renewable sources, particularly solar.

For decades, the drawback of DC power has been significant loss over even moderate transmission distances. But with the genesis of microgrid technology—small locations that produce their own power and draw from the grid (or add to it!) only when needed, the advantages of DC become clearer. Add to that advancements in storage technology, and DC power is definitely the wave of the future.

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Department of Energy, Department of Army Announce Collaboration

"By increasing our cooperation on advanced vehicle technologies, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Army can accelerate the development and deployment of cutting-edge technologies that will decrease our dependence on oil." said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of the Army announced a new collaboration aimed at promoting the joint development of advanced vehicle technologies. During the first-ever Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Workshop – hosted by the DOE and the Army at NextEnergy headquarters in Detroit – Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal announced the completion of a new charter that will enhance national energy security and demonstrate the Federal Government’s leadership in transitioning America to a low-carbon economy. The announcement came during the workshop, which brought together more than 80 energy leaders including Nextek Power Systems.

“Through this Alliance, we can strengthen our military, our national security and our economy. Our work together can help create a clean energy economy that will create jobs and make America more competitive.” said Chu.

Under Secretary of the Army Westphal expounded on the workshop’s purpose. “President Obama has made it clear that now is the time to secure our energy future. We must increase efficiency in Army vehicles to accomplish this vital national goal,” Westphal said. “This powerful collaboration between the Army and the Department of Energy will ultimately support our Soldiers and forces, both abroad and here at home, by providing vehicles that are lighter, more efficient, less dependent on carbon fuels, and yet survivable and sustainable. They will provide the platforms for the next generation of fighting systems that are good for the environment and still meet the Army's military mission.”

The two-day Workshop opened with remarks and perspectives from senior leaders. Breakout sessions began mid-morning and focused on six critical areas:

  •     Advanced combustion engines and transmissions
  •     Lightweight structures and materials
  •     Energy recovery and thermal management
  •     Alternative fuels and lubricants
  •     Hybrid propulsion systems including batteries
  •     Analytical tools

More detailed workshop findings are being compiled, and an announcement of initial projects for joint consideration is expected later this summer.  Check back for further details.