International District Energy Association and Microgrid Resources Coalition announce merger to promote wider adoption of microgrids

WESTBOROUGH, MA – May 18, 2016 – The International District Energy Association (IDEA) and the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) today announced a merger agreement to integrate the resources and technical and regulatory expertise of the MRC into IDEA as part of a collaborative strategy to strengthen information exchange and advocacy efforts aimed at improving the technical, regulatory and policy landscape for microgrids.

C. Baird Brown (left) of MRC and Rob Thornton, IDEA

C. Baird Brown (left) of the MRC Secretariat and Rob Thornton, President & CEO of IDEA, announce the merger of their organizations on May 19.

The two organizations announced their plans on the eve of Microgrid Knowledge, a conference in New York City that drew industry participants from across North America to share best practices and innovations across a range of issues relating to microgrids, regulatory policies and market development.

“Microgrids are a growing segment of the energy industry and integral to our work at IDEA,” said IDEA President and CEO Rob Thornton. “Today, we are witnessing a paradigm shift from remote central station power plants toward more localized, distributed generation for enhanced reliability, resiliency and energy efficiency, especially in cities, communities and campuses.  IDEA members have been operating CHP/district energy microgrids for decades, long before the term “microgrid” was even coined.  IDEA and MRC have much in common in terms of membership and mission, and we share an objective to inform energy policy makers and regulators about the myriad benefits microgrids can deliver. We are eager to bring our resources to deepen our partnership with MRC, integrating the regulatory and policy expertise of MRC with the practical, operational insights of over 2100 IDEA members around the globe to accelerate microgrid deployment in North America.”

Tom Nyquist

Tom Nyquist

“The MRC was principally formed to advocate for a level playing field for microgrids in the energy regulatory arena,”says Tom Nyquist of Princeton University and Chair of MRC.  “Drawing from our operational experience, we have been informing regulators and advising policy makers, electric utilities and independent system operators on the range of benefits that microgrids can produce for end-users as well as the local and regional power grid.   By operating in parallel with the traditional electricity grid, microgrids like the one at Princeton University, can shift demand for expensive peak power and reduce strain on the local distribution network.  We are also able to optimize thermal energy and integrate intermittent renewable resources.  On those occasions when severe weather interrupts regular utility service, the microgrid at Princeton can “island” and isolate from the grid, to provide our own continuous power, heating and cooling for critical research facilities on campus.”

IDEA joined MRC as a founding member in 2014, and all current MRC member companies are also IDEA members. Members of both organizations have common perspectives on the energy industry, making their official alliance a natural step.

While microgrids are gaining attention due to their inherent resilience benefits, the early stage market still faces barriers to widespread implementation such as conflicting regulations at federal, state, and local levels.  Through the merger, IDEA and MRC will combine technical, regulatory and policy resources to educate and engage with federal and state energy regulatory and policy agencies, as well as utility business leaders and local governments.

About the International District Energy Association

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) is a nonprofit trade association founded in 1909 to facilitate the exchange of information among district energy professionals. IDEA works actively to foster the success of members as leaders in providing reliable, economical, efficient and environmentally sound district heating, district cooling and cogeneration (also known as combined heat and power or CHP) services. Today, IDEA has over 2,100 members in 25 nations and is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. For more information, please visit http://www.districtenergy.org/.

About the Microgrid Resources Coalition
The Microgrid Resources Coalition is a consortium of leading microgrid owners, operators, developers, suppliers and investors formed as an unincorporated nonprofit association under the laws of the District of Columbia. The purpose of the MRC is to advance microgrids as energy resources.  The MRC promotes the widespread implementation of microgrids through advocacy for laws, regulations and tariffs that support their access to market, compensate them for their services, and provide a level playfield for their deployment and operations. For more information, please visit:   http://www.microgridresources.com/About-MRC.aspx

About IDEA Industry News

EDITOR: Leonard Phillips, IDEA Director of Business Development, International District Energy Association (IDEA), a nonprofit association founded in 1909. len.idea@districtenergy.org; +1 508-366-9339.
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