How Duke Energy is testing the technology of tomorrow

Instagram takeover reveals drones, solar panels, microgrids and more cool tech

“There’s a way to do it better – find it.”

That was Thomas Edison’s advice to his team. His drive to innovate led to the energy grid we know today, and for more than 100 years, we’ve enjoyed reliable electricity. But Duke Energy employees are constantly looking for better ways to work.

Jason Handley, Duke Energy director of smart grid and emerging technology, took over the company’s Instagram yesterday to give followers a behind-the-scenes look at innovative projects that are helping to build a smarter energy future.

If you missed yesterday’s takeover, check out the photos below to see how Handley and his team are testing drones that can streamline solar panel maintenance, batteries that can help store renewable energy and microgrids that provide an emergency source of backup power. 

 

We are excited about all of the possibilities of renewable energy on our modernized grid. We have been researching solar for many years since it is a clean and abundant source of energy. #solar #renewableenergy #dayinthelife

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For one of our first projects this morning, we are lifting our electric truck to make sure everything is running smoothly. #electrictruck #ev #dayinthelife

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One of my favorite projects we are working on now involves drones. We are currently one of the few utilities testing them. Drones can be a huge advantage for the grid of the future, from helping us better assess damage after a storm to spotting a solar panel operating incorrectly. #drone #grid #tech #dayinthelife

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Our Mt. Holly lab is devoted to real-time grid simulators, electric vehicles, telecommunications and cybersecurity. The research we do here helps us learn how to deploy technologies and make them reliable before we put them out in the wild. #grid #tech #dayinthelife

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This is where we evaluate home energy storage systems from @teslamotors and Enphase, as well as other larger systems. We are testing the batteries ability to reliably provide power back into our grid when called on. Some of the characteristics we are testing involve charge and discharge rates, battery chemistries and their auxiliary power requirements. #Tesla #batterystorage #energy #tech #dayinthelife 🔋🔌💡

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Microgrids and battery storage go hand in hand. A microgrid stores energy from solar panels in large batteries. These batteries can serve as backup power when the grid is down. A microgrid can operate in parallel, or independently, from the main power grid. As we move to a smarter energy future, microgrids offer a range of benefits both locally and nationally in terms of environmental benefits, economic advantages and increased efficiency. #microgrid #batterystorage #dayinthelife

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Now we are at our other testing facility, McAlpine. Here sensors at our substation can quickly detect power losses. In a fraction of a second, the fire station can disconnect from power lines and switch to solar-powered backup batteries, then reconnect itself to the grid once power is restored. The ability to provide reliable emergency power to the fire station and other critical facilities is paramount. #microgrid #solar #tech #dayinthelife ☀️🔋🔌💡

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Our microgrid at McAlpine had its first true test in April of last year. A spring storm knocked out power to the fire staton. When the lights should have gone off, the microgrid kept the station powered for the 1 minute and 15 seconds it was out. Although brief, the switch from the main energy grid to the battery proved the system works. #microgrid #firestation #tech #dayinthelife ☀️🔋🚒

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Click here to learn more about Tom and the McAlpine microgrid project.

 

Thank you so much for following along during my takeover! I hope you learned more about what we are doing behind the scenes here to help build a smarter energy future for everyone. #innovation #energyfuture #tech #dayinthelife ⚡️💡

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