If you haven't heard the name Lawrence Orsini in utility circles, you will. Orsini is presenting one of the ways microgrids can be built, owned and operated with his Brooklyn Microgrid project.
Orsini is chief executive of LO3 Energy, a startup describing itself as an "energy-tech company set to disrupt energy grids across the globe." LO3 was launched about 2012 and started the Brooklyn project in 2016 in which residents and businesses, as solar-energy producers, can sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door. The trading platform is based on blockchain technology, originally created to run the bitcoin currency, which securely monitors output from home energy systems and enables it to be bought and sold in the local community.
By creating new ways for people to participate in energy, Orsini is an "icon of infrastructure." Microgrids will be part of the new energy economy, as America figures out how it should upgrade the power grid infrastructure, whether building new transmission lines or increasing the construction of microgrids or both. Whether there will be a lot more projects like the Brooklyn project remains to be seen, but utilities are certainly experimenting with microgrids more and more to not only increase reliability but also to deal with the advent of renewable generation.
Orsini says his company has been working with some of the largest utilities in the United States, launching programs to help bring new technology to markets and to figure out how people work with emerging technology.
Orsini and his vision for microgrids for America and internationally are profiled on the new Informa website and community, Icons of Infrastructure. "Microgrids are at the heart of the coming electric sector revolution that will take the industry from analog to digital DNA, away from a dumb, centralized system to a nimble, dispersed honeycomb of energy neighborhoods," writes Marty Rosenberg, content director for the energy market at Informa. "The change Orsini hopes to bring to energy customers is likely to emerge first in New York, Texas, and California., where regulatory and business conditions are most ideal."
For continuing coverage of the infrastructure challenge and ways you can influence the national debate, visit the Icons of Infrastructure website and community, which promises "to challenge the roadblocks and spotlight the obstructionists but, more than that, commit to showcasing those who have broken through and share their success with others." The site features case studies and personal profiles of infrastructure icons reshaping America.
"We are building a community of change agents – organizations and people that are committed to the cause of building a stronger America. The Icons of Infrastructure movement is made up of government enterprises, start-up innovators, utility and energy executives, private investors and interested individuals who share this vision of America, and are committed to building it."