Global Microgrid Demand Creating a Sizable $47.4 Billion Investment Opportunity

Microgrids are quickly spreading throughout the U.S. Maryland, for example, just announced 14 microgrid projects. “The microgrids are meant to ensure greater electric reliability. But the state also views the projects as a way to help organizations achieve sustainability goals,” says Microgrid Knowledge.

California regulators just approved a multi-billion-dollar microgrid program to help “lessen the impact of planned wildfire preventive grid shutdowns by the state’s major investor-owned utilities (IOUs),” says Natural Gas Intel. After all, they don’t want a repeat of the PG&E power shutoff to millions again. By September 2020, PG&E plans to establish 63 microgrids to substations that can be connected to generators during outage events, added Utility Dive.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center awarded two $75,000 grants for microgrids for Boston’s Chinatown and Chelsea neighborhoods. Globally, with greater adoption of microgrids around the world, the industry is projected to reach $47.4 billion by 2025 from $28.6 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 10.6%.

“Major drivers for the market's growth are rising demand for clean energy, increasing instances of cyberattacks on the energy infrastructures, growing requirement for reliable and secure global power supply, and rising global deployment of microgrids for rural electrification,” notes Reportlinker. Such demand is creating a good deal of opportunity for companies such as CleanSpark, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLSK), PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT), Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BLDP)(TSX:BLDP), and FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ:FCEL).

CleanSpark, Inc. (NASDAQ:CLSK) BREAKING NEWS: CleanSpark, Inc., a diversified software and services company announced the release of improved features and an optimized user interface to its proprietary energy analytics software. The update provides a new look and feel as well as many improved sales-related features to its Microgrid Value Stream Optimizer (mVSO) Software as a Service (SaaS) energy modeling platform. mVSO is used by microgrid developers to efficiently create money saving energy proposals for their client projects.

mVSO’s user interface has been refreshed and reorganized to reflect updated branding and its forward-looking approach to improve the user’s flow through the application. The process of creating a new project for analysis has been streamlined with a step-by-step wizard, as well as the ability to set your project’s location either by physical address or by geographic coordinates.

The ability for energy professionals to use the Software to share the modeled results with their end-customers and track sale’s engagement has been greatly expanded. Users can share detailed reports and analysis with multiple parties directly through the mVSO platform. Subsequently, all customer activity and interaction with these reports are tracked and users are notified when an interested party has interacted with the proposal. mVSO now enables the generation of a sharp, effective project proposal with a single click. The proposal is designed to provide all of the salient information an end-customer needs to make an informed buying decision.

Amanda Kabak, CleanSpark’s CTO and Principal Software Architect stated, “Our mission for mVSO is to provide distributed energy and microgrid developers an easy and effective way to educate their end customer on the full benefit of a proposed project. The recent upgrades and improvements we’ve made to the software are specifically geared to that end. The ability to share reports with any number of parties, the capability to download an effective proposal, and the increased visibility into customer interaction with these artifacts will undoubtedly help drive sales for our users.”

Ms. Kabak continued, “mVSO’s unique optimization approach is both powerful and, now, even easier to use. The new project wizard guides users through the creation of a project and the analysis of various scenarios to derive the optimal combination of equipment based on a project’s location, utility interconnection, and energy use profile to achieve the highest ROI. Kabak added, “The ability for our users to advance a project from proposal to contract by leveraging detailed results provided by our software in just a few clicks and with minimal friction has always been the driving force behind mVSO’s design.”

Zach Bradford, CleanSpark’s CEO added, “These improvements are meaningful to all CleanSpark stakeholders, not only due to the added functionality and ease of use, but also because we expect these features to lead directly to additional mVSO subscriptions. As mVSO expands its market share, we expect the resulting ‘pull-through’ sales of our mPulse software and controls platform to increase. In conjunction with this new update, the company has launched a new marketing campaign focused on energy developers and we are optimistic about the expected results.

Other related developments from around the markets include:

PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), in connection with its expected emergence from Chapter 11, announced the selection of a new Board of Directors upon emergence to help guide the company post-bankruptcy. The new Board will consist of 14 members, 11 of whom are new and will be officially appointed to join the Board at or prior to emergence from bankruptcy and following required bankruptcy court submissions. It is expected that the Board of Directors of utility subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric Company will largely be the same as PG&E. The changeover of the Board is part of PG&E's efforts to transform into a stronger company in order to improve operations and safety and better serve its customers and communities. The 11 new Board members offer substantial expertise in key areas critical to the company's work. These include utility operations and management, safety and environment, risk management, customer engagement, innovation and technology, regulatory affairs (state and federal), audit and finance, corporate governance, nuclear operations and decommissioning, and human capital and executive compensation. In addition, six of the 11 new directors are from California and have made their careers in the state, gaining extensive knowledge of the communities PG&E serves and the political, social, and physical environment in which the company operates.

Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) and Oriden LLC, a Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems venture, announced a teaming agreement for future energy storage projects using GridStar® Flow, Lockheed Martin’s innovative flow battery technology. This cutting-edge energy storage system is capable of storing six to 12 hours or more of energy and dispatching it as needed. The companies are partnering to identify and support long-duration energy storage projects, using Oriden’s renewable and energy storage project development expertise and Lockheed Martin’s GridStar® Flow battery, which provides the durability, flexibility and safety necessary for project success. “We are encouraged by the great synergies between our two companies to bring new flow battery technology to the market,” said Dan Norton, vice president of Lockheed Martin Energy. “This agreement accelerates our efforts to scale GridStar® Flow rapidly and to support our global customers.” 

Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BLDP)(TSX:BLDP) announced consolidated financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020. All amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted and have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). “Our top priority, always, is the health and safety of our people, customers and partners,” said Randy MacEwen, President and CEO. “We have taken important precautions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our people and our business. Notwithstanding this extraordinary backdrop, we delivered record Q1 revenue of $24.0 million, gross margin of 22% and ending cash reserves of $181.6 million. We further fortified our balance sheet, with the execution of an At-The-Market Equity Program.”

FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ:FCEL) reported financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2020 and key business highlights. “First and foremost, our focus remains on the health and safety of our employees as we navigate the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this challenging environment, I’m pleased with our second quarter performance, where we achieved significant progress in executing our “Powerhouse” business strategy,” said Jason Few, President and CEO. “We have made strides in advancing our integrated business model, which includes developing and managing generation assets. We remain focused on accelerating revenue growth, which more than doubled this quarter, fueled by increases in Generation, Service and Advanced Technology. At the same time, we continued to manage costs and enhance gross margin.” Mr. Few concluded, “Despite the challenges of the current global environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to execute against our project pipeline and advanced our work with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company in pursuit of commercializing our proprietary carbon capture solution. We still have work to do but are on a clear strategic path to continue making progress and achieving our goals.”

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