T&T Power Group’s “Powering Greenhouses 2018” conference welcomed greenhouse growers from across Southwestern Ontario to learn about and discuss eco-conscious industry practices and energy efficiencies.

What We Learned from John Douglas at Powering Greenhouses 2018

Many special speakers presented at the conference – including John Douglas, CEO of oneGRID Corp., who just returned from a trip to Peru. During his presentation, John talked about public energy and distributed generation, or distributed/decentralized energy as the future. Distributed or on-site generation is electrical generation and storage executed by grid-connected distributed energy resources (DER).

Key Takeaways From Conference

“I think the future of where we’re going is trans-active energy, where you can produce your own energy behind the meter”, John explained. “And if you have excess energy, you’ll be able to sell it back into the grid. I think that’s coming here – it’s already here for residential solar.”

John also let guests in on the project that we had been working together with Siemens to achieve over the past year: the design of a reciprocating gas engine.

“Everything’s in this 40-foot [containerized design] – the reciprocating engine, the gen-set, the switch gear, the silencer, the air coolers – it’s all in here”, he said. “What this allows us to do is really narrow in on the costs. There’s no civil works uncertainty here, going into a customer’s location and saying ‘well, we didn’t know that was there’, [etc.]… so we’ve essentially eliminated or minimized the cost risk.”

John also went on to explain that, with the surprising early realization that most customers didn’t curtail or no longer wanted to, it appeared that there was no cause for becoming a traditional peak shaving company. With that said, the increasing demand for small, more flexible decentralized generation systems compared to larger, conventional power stations was becoming more apparent – and with good reason.

“What we’re encouraging our customers [to do] is to stay connected – to effectively use the grid as a back-up. We’re [not generating] peak power, we’re generating base load power”, he shared. “I think the first customer we told we could save $250,000 – now we’re meeting customers where we’re saying, ‘we can save you a million dollars a year for the next five years’. So it’s been kind of almost mind-blowing to think about the potential here.”

Mind-blowing potential, indeed. It was an honor to have John Douglas as a guest speaker at Powering Greenhouses 2018, as it certainly felt like it was time for us to come together to talk about the future of power generation.

“I think that the day you can buy electricity from Amazon is coming. And as crazy as that sounds, I really think that’s part of the future”, John said. “We do think distributed generation is the future.”