Environment + Energy Leader has just announced that Enel X and Eaton have won a 2021 Environment + Energy Leader Award for their recent microgrid project in Puerto Rico. The award is given to projects “based on their success in providing significant sustainability and energy management results.”
This award not only honors these two companies for their work on this innovative project, in many ways it shows the broader significance of the “Energy as a Service” approach to modern energy for businesses looking to pursue and implement innovative solutions.
The Project: Puerto Rico Microgrid
In December 2020, Enel X and Eaton partnered to develop a microgrid in Puerto Rico, helping to support the island’s 2025 targets of at least 3,500 MW of solar and more than 1,300 MW of storage.
The microgrid will enable Eaton, a power management company and one of Puerto Rico’s largest employers, to reduce its carbon footprint and demand on local energy infrastructure while improving energy resilience. The project incorporates onsite solar generation and battery storage at Eaton’s Arecibo plant, which manufactures circuit breakers used in homes, buildings and a range of industrial applications.
About 60% of Eaton’s local electricity needs will now come from the solar panels set up in a field adjacent to the plant. During periods of excess generation, the project will enable Eaton to share clean energy back onto Puerto Rico’s electrical grid.
Enel X and Eaton are evaluating additional opportunities in the region to provide a microgrid together using the energy-as-a-service approach.
The Award: Environment + Energy Leader’s Projects of the Year
The microgrid was a winner of a Top Project of the Year Award in the elite Environment + Energy Leader Awards program. For nearly a decade, the Environment + Energy Leader Awards have celebrated excellence in the world of environmental, sustainability and energy management. Award winners are truly buzz-worthy, and companies that sport a Top Project or Top Product of the Year Award badge are known to be the best of the best.
When other companies are seeking a sustainability or energy management solution, they know that E+E Product of the Year Award winners offer a significant group of products, vetted by experts, to peruse for help in making their decisions. Project of the Year Award winners are known to illustrate how sustainability and energy management projects can successfully help other companies improve the bottom line.
“With a very experienced and critical judging panel and a strict set of judging criteria, entrants faced an extremely high bar to qualify for an award in 2021,” says Sarah Roberts, Environment + Energy Leader publisher.
Why This Project Shows the Importance of Energy as a Service
Energy as a Service (EaaS) is a paradigm intended to replace “energy as a commodity.” EaaS outsources energy management, and in turn seeks to boost both resilience and sustainability. It more efficiently finds solutions that address specific customer needs most closely. Enel X was recently named a market Leader in Energy as a Service by Guidehouse, an energy market intelligence firm.
This microgrid, one of the largest ever built on Puerto Rico, is a model of the importance of “Energy as a Service.” The project combines the respective strengths and capabilities of Eaton and Enel X to create a stronger project. Enel X will build, own and operate the system on behalf of Eaton, and Eaton will provide installation expertise and key technologies for the microgrid system. The microgrid will also use Enel X’s Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Optimization Software.
This division of responsibilities is part of the Energy as a Service model. Within the context of an increasingly complex energy system, the sound operation and management of energy assets enables companies to stay competitive. Leveraging an expert to navigate this energy complexity allows a business to focus on its key priorities. In addition, through an EaaS agreement, a company can install new assets like those in this microgrid without deploying CapEx. This structure enables the business to make OpEx payments to a provider, making microgrid projects attainable for organizations without requiring major CapEx investments.
Companies can often maximize revenue by delegating the management of energy assets to a trusted partner. This can minimize risks and cut costs, while facilitating better integration of new solutions and technologies.
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