The future of renewable power generation is intertwined with the management of power. The integration of new power sources into the existing power grid is pivotal to their effectiveness.
NextEnergy has been working on the management of power associated with renewable sources for the past eight years. Initially supported by the Tank and Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Senator Carl Levin’s office, NextEnergy created the Electronic Power Control and Conditioning (EPCC) program. The focus of the program was to integrate renewable sources of power, as well as hybrid electric vehicles created by TARDEC, in austere locations and provide U.S. national grid quality power. EPCC has been a success and has grown to include the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) as well as the Office of the Secretary of Defense in fielding hardware at various military bases. With the support of $14 million in funding, this program has benefited Michigan companies such as Theka Engineering Services in Muskegon and Coritech Services in Royal Oak. This understanding of power electronics has allowed NextEnergy to grow into microgrid systems to support forward operating bases.
Another benefit from early development of power electronics for the EPCC systems was the ability to support Vehicle To Grid (V2G) Commerce projects. NextEnergy has worked with Coritech Services to develop V2G test platforms that provide bi-directional power flow in actual vehicle to commercial grid scenario-based evaluations. This provides engineers the opportunity to evaluate possible future uses of stored energy in vehicles. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Energy Options have supported the creation of this equipment. Partners in the effort besides Coritech Services include Chrysler Corporation, AVL, REV Technologies Incorporated. [/one_half]