Monday, September 28, 2020
Microgrid Shows New Energy Options
Ben Rainwater shows off how a person living in a community without electricity can charge his or her phone, run a fan, power a toaster and keep the lights running.
Thursday, July 6, 2017


Sun Valley could hardly be considered a Third World country.

But everything someone might need to power lights, espresso machine and more in a tiny village on the outskirts of the Saharan Desert or along the Amazon River has been set up in Ketchum’s Forest Service Park.

The Sun Valley Institute has partnered with two energy companies—the Riverside, Calif.-based EnerBlu and Iteros, a software design and development firm headquartered in San Diego, Calif.—to set up a microgrid at Ketchum’s Forest Service Park on First and Washington streets west of the Limelight Hotel.

The microgrid is open to the public free of charge on Thursday and Friday during the annual Sun Valley Forum going on at the Limelight Hotel

The fully functional microgrid demonstrates how a microgrid works and how energy storage systems, such as batteries can be connected to energy generation resources, such as a solar system, to build local resistance.

The display includes a makeshift house with solar panels that power shoebox-sized batteries to run lights and all the electrical appliances Americans take for granted for someone who lives in a town in Nepal where the electricity is shut off every evening.

“You can run off these batteries for five days,” said EnerBlu’s President Ben Rainwater.

Also on display:

  • EnerBlu’s zero emissions, battery electric school bus, which is also produced as a shuttle bus.
  • EnerBlu’s Advanced Energy Storage Unit (AESU), which combines a traditional fossil-fuel powered generated with onboard energy storage to provide a mobile energy delivery system for military, rural and commercial electrification applications. It can be incorporated with renewable energy sources, such as solar PV or wind. And, when integrated with a genset, it provides dramatic reductions in both genset fuel usage and emissions.


The Sun Valley Institute has offered those who had participated in its RevUp Blaine program to purchase electric cars and Solarize Blaine program to put solar panels on their house a chance to attend the forum’s free programs on energy resilience.

The conference runs through Friday, with an Adventure Day planned for Saturday.


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