DTECH 2024: Predictive Weather Analytics is One Way ELM Seeks to Improve Rural Electrification


Rural electrification is at a crossroads, facing challenges such as outdated infrastructure, high energy costs, and the rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). These issues multiply in rural areas, where the transition to sustainable energy sources is not just a matter of environmental responsibility but also economic and social necessity. Introducing government incentives like those in the Inflation Reduction Act offers hope, promising to alleviate some financial burdens and accelerate the shift towards renewable energy. This shift is crucial for enhancing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and ensuring the resilience and sustainability of rural communities amid growing demands.

As the industry explores solutions to these pressing challenges, MarketScale spoke with Aron Bowman, the President of ELM Microgrid and ELM Solar, at DISTRIBUTECH 2024. Bowman’s work focuses on innovative energy solutions, such as mid-size microgrid systems, that promise to optimize energy usage and enhance grid reliability in rural areas. His insights into deploying predictive weather analytics and microgrid systems underscore the importance of tailored, strategic approaches to rural electrification.

Aron’s Thoughts

“Everyone focuses on these challenges with the grid, and a lot of the attention gets paid to the large cities and the large challenges, especially with the electrification of vehicles. But we work a lot with co-ops around the country, from the Tennessee Valley to the Midwest markets and into Texas, where we’re located with our factory. They’re facing a lot of the same challenges but in a slightly different way because they don’t have a lot of industrial-grade areas that they can pull on. They have communities that have built up in what was a rural farm area, and now you’ve got a couple hundred homes. And now, when you start talking about those couple hundred homes, going to electric vehicles and the additional loads that homes are doing with more air conditioning and larger homes, they’re really getting stressed and trying to figure out how to handle balancing infrastructure growth with the limited resources and funds they sometimes have.

A lot of them, what we’re working with is being able to drop mid-size systems. So, one-megawatt and two-megawatt size systems are right into the substations so that we can optimize charging power overnight when the usage is low and have them up time for usage when demand is high, but then also be able to work. We’re working with them to start developing predictive weather analytics so that they can see that instead of using it for time-of-use shifting, maybe we’re going to save up the battery to respond to a storm event that’s going to come. It really does help a lot because, normally, downtime is north of the substation in regard to what the substation is serving. We can bring that power right into the substation and really help them with response times and allow them to be more systematic with how they deploy their resources to solve problems in a major storm or down event.

First, we spend a lot of time just talking upfront. We don’t come right in and try to plug in what we have and say, here’s the system and solution for you. We spend a lot of time working with them and discussing things we’ve seen. We’ve worked with utilities across the country, from California to New York, from Florida to Michigan and Minnesota. And so we’ve seen a lot of different applications. We also do a lot of things in the islands, like Puerto Rico and Hawaii. We’ve seen a lot of various challenges that these smaller utilities face. And we’re also always interested in learning more about what we could potentially do to help them. So, really, the first thing is just starting with a conversation and understanding their challenges. And then we’re happy to look at some design options free of charge to kind of help them figure out where they think they can go. And if we can figure out a more systematic approach that’ll help them solve their problems.”

Article by James Kent

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!



telecom project success in healthcare
Telecom Project Success in Healthcare Usually Comes Down to Working with the Right Decision Maker
April 15, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare technology, telecommunications plays a crucial role. As healthcare providers increasingly rely on digital solutions—from telemedicine to electronic health records—telecom companies are finding new opportunities and challenges in this sector. Successfully implementing telecom projects in healthcare requires a nuanced understanding of the industry’s legacy communications infrastructure, unique demands […]

Read More
visitor management systems
Enhance Security with Faster Adoption of Digital Visitor Management Systems
April 15, 2024

As workplaces evolve into hybrid environments, the urgency to replace traditional paper logbooks with advanced digital visitor management systems has become a critical focus for organizations aiming to bolster security. The reliance on outdated methods poses significant security risks, a concern highlighted by increasing incidents of unauthorized access and data breaches globally. This pressing […]

Read More
access control
Redefining Access Control: Mobile Credentials Integrate Security, Privacy, and IT Seamlessly
April 15, 2024

As businesses increasingly lean on technology to enhance security and operational efficiency, the topic of access control has surged to the forefront. This rise is particularly driven by advancements in mobile credential technology—a shift from traditional physical credentials to digital solutions hosted on personal devices like smartphones. The growing ubiquity of smartphones and heightened […]

Read More
brick-and-mortar store resurgence
Unique In-Store Experiences Are Driving a Brick-And-Mortar Retail Resurgence
April 15, 2024

What’s behind the recent brick-and-mortar store resurgence? Could it be that big box stores recognize the one-of-a-kind shopping experiences that can occur in person? Finding unique ways to capitalize on those in-store experiences may lead to a brighter future for retail. Big box stores are reasserting the importance of their physical presence, continuing to […]

Read More