What is a Microgrid?
Microgrids are quite literally regenerating the localization and distribution of energy across the globe from cities and college campuses to business institutions and communities. They provide efficient, low-cost clean energy while also enhancing local resiliency and improving the operation and stability of the region’s existing electric grid. By isolating themselves from the larger electrical grid, microgrids provide a dynamic amount of responsiveness that is unprecedented for any type of energy resource and, with their ability to conduct flexible and parallel electrical operations, they can even offer the potential to make the energy business more competitive.
A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local source of supply that is usually attached to a centralized national grid but is able to function independently.
By remaining separate from the electrical grid during emergencies, microgrids can continue serving their intended purpose, even when the entire grid is down. Whether they are simply keeping the lights on during severe weather or lowering energy costs throughout an entire community, microgrids are improving people’s well being across the globe.
Why are Microgrids so Important?
As more projects increase their reliability on sustainable resources such as solar power and energy storage, microgrids will also continue to see a surge in usage and we will need to know more information about them.
1. Microgrids could make solar power possible anywhere
With their advanced controllers and regeneration system, microgrids can assist cities who may wish to move to solar power, but may not have the most permissible weather to do so. Without human intervention, these grids are able to select from the best available resources at any given moment and use that as its primary source of energy.
2. Electricity with zero emissions is possible with microgrids
With their ability to balance, distribute, and generate energy from non-controllable renewable sources, microgrids offer the potential to deploy more zero-emission electricity sources and cutting back on fuel-related costs, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and potentially reducing your electric bill.
3. How can a microgrid help during a power outage?
For areas that are prone to grid overloads, microgrids also provide benefits during power outages. As central grids become overloaded during power outages, their smaller counterparts can redistribute some of the load during these periods and help ease some of the energy strain. Microgrids can also halt the flow of power to the grid completely if a potential outage is foreseen. If you own a large facility you may want to consider a microgrid to assist your uninterrupted power supply.
The Future of Microgrids
Although government regulation is the main obstacle for us to overcome when it comes to the microgrid and most grids are currently overseen by local community utility companies, the potential use worldwide is nearly endless. Whether they provide power to millions of people during a hurricane, save community members money on their next electric bill, or even distribute power to places that don’t have it readily available, microgrids are attractive to a number of large companies committed to transitioning to a sustainable low-carbon economy.
While they may seem like a novelty concept and only provide a tiny fraction of electricity in the United States (most microgrid projects only exist in Alaska, California, and Texas), their electric reliability, grid strengthening, economic advantage, and environmental improvement are sparking a lot of interest. Experts expect that more and more communities will see the benefits of a microgrid and we will hopefully see even more microgrids in the U.S. over the next several years.