Clean Power

Published on March 16th, 2016 | by Glenn Meyers

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TransActive Grid: Turning Brooklyn Homes Into Connected Power Stations

March 16th, 2016 by  

According to TransActive Grid, Brooklyn consumers can transform their homes into connected power stations.

The New York startup has developed a consumer-run microgrid — a technology which its founders hope will radically transform the way electricity is bought and sold.

Project Exergy is an effort to turn computers into primary sources of heat. This computational and distributed model provides utilities with new integration options for recapturing wasted resources, managing both the load/shift balance and demand-response needs, and increasing customer retention through innovation.

“The LO3 concept model is a distributed computation and heating appliance platform that provides a thermal storage system as well as plug-and-play integration with a building’s existing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. It offers a range of cryptographically secured grid services and presents a two-fold opportunity to monetize underutilized computational capacity and store valuable thermal energy.”

This planned network will be run by TransActive Grid (TAG). placing control of production and consumption in the hands of the consumers, who can buy and sell their electricity over a secure peer-to-peer network. This presentation discusses the concept of micro-grids.

New York water towers shutterstock_160460711This peer-to-peer network is based on the Ethereum blockchain software technology, originally created to run the bitcoin currency, which securely monitors output from energy systems such as solar, wind, or batteries and enables it to be bought and sold in the local community.

In a press announcement, TAG co-founder Lawrence Orsini said, “This really is an exciting development in the way consumers can interact with energy, and we hope it will lead to a cleaner, greener society.

“The technology we have created takes away any hassle from buying and selling, allowing both consumers and prosumers more options to maximize the local benefits from renewable generation systems.”

How viable the financial platform proves to be remains to be determined.

To prove this concept, the company plans to roll out its first network on President Street in Brooklyn.  “We hope that street will be remembered in the future as the start of a step change in the energy industry,” Orsini said.

The press announcement offers this perspective:

Traditionally, home energy producers have had to buy and sell through a centralized utility company like Duke Energy in the US or the National Grid in the UK – but that puts the control in the hands of the energy giants.

TAG connects buildings via a constantly updated secure list, stored on computing devices at each location. The Ethereum software monitors electricity-in and electricity-out at each point of the network by counting up the electrons created or stored, logging it, then selling it through a hands-off self-sustaining control system.

The basic grid in Brooklyn, the first of its kind, consists of houses with solar panels producing energy and other houses on the block set up to buy that renewable energy from, literally, across the street.

“This whole concept benefits the area you live in,” added co-founder Joseph Lubin. “By buying energy locally, rather than from a national entity, the money goes back into the pockets of people in the community.”

We remain interested in reporting on the success of this enterprise.

Image Water towers via Shutterstock


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About the Author

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.



  • jeffhre

    “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

    Edison soon began planning a station that could serve many people. He wanted to put it in a densely populated area with a mix of commercial and residential customers. The area Edison chose in New York City was known as the First District, a rectangular .65 square-kilometer area bordered by Wall Street to the south. Not only was it the leading financial district of the United States, it also included the offices of The New York Times. Edison put his station in two buildings, at 255 and 257 Pearl Street.

    He faced many obstacles—not the least of which was generating sufficient power. The dynamos of the time were simply not powerful enough. So he developed what he called the Jumbo dynamo, a 27-ton machine four times the size of other dynamos. A Jumbo produced 100 kilowatts—enough to power 1200 lights—and Edison installed six of them at the Pearl Street Station.”

    “Thomas A. Edison launched the modern electric utility in 1882 with the opening of the Pearl Street Station in New York City, shown in this artist’s rendering. It was the first permanent central power station for electric lighting. Photo: ConEd”

    From, IEEE

    • Lawrence Orsini

      Somewhat ironically the project began in 2013 near Pearl St., there is a video that will surface at some point in the future that talks about the ties. Pearl St. is not a community that can host it’s own generation, at this point, so we chose Park Slope and Gowanus for the right mix of community and building stock appropriate for distributed energy resources.

      • jeffhre

        That is beyond ironic – good luck to you in your remarkable endeavor.

  • Lawrence Orsini

    Hi Glen, you have jumbled together a couple of LO3 Energy’s projects in this article. Please feel free to reach out so we can explain how the three different but connected projects actually work.

    Lawrence Orsini

  • J.H.

    So many question. Is it just a business model or is this an actual pilot program ? I like the concept, on site ( the block) demand and production. How does this play into the local and state Net Metering policies ? Is the token replacing the PPA ? And who manages the Community ESCO ?

  • jeffhre

    Should have rolled it out on Pearl Street.

  • Frank

    I’d like to know how this is connected to the local utility company. Is it connected the same as before, and billed the same as before? In other words, is this adding something on, or replacing something?

    • neroden

      This looks like it’s *mainly* a billing change. I would be interested to see more detail.

    • Lawrence Orsini

      Brooklyn Microgrid is not adding any pipes or wires to the utility underground. There will be added switchgear and control systems to allow the microgrid to island from the utility grid and continue functioning during blackouts but the microgrid is designed to run in parallel with the utility grid in all other instances.

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