briefoverview

A BRIEF OVERVIEW

Historically, central plants have been an integral part of the electric grid, in which large generating facilities are specifically located either close to fuel resources or otherwise located far from populated load centers [1]. These, in turn, supply the traditional transmission and distribution (T&D) grid that distributes bulk power to load centers and from there to end consumers.

These economies of scale began to fail in the late 1960s and, by the start of the 21st century, central plants could arguably no longer deliver competitively cheap and reliable electricity to more remote customers through the grid. Thus, the grid had become the main driver of remote customers’ power costs and power quality problems, which became more acute as digital equipment required extremely reliable electricity. Efficiency gains no longer come from increasing engineering complexity of large generators, but now from large scale mass production of smaller units located near sites of demand.

 

 

whatare

WHAT ARE MICROGRIDS?

Microgrids can be constructed of a combination of resources [2], both loads and generations assets combined into a system which best meets the end consumers usage. Microgrids can also be of any size from kilowatts to megawatts, but usually have two defining characteristics, local control and full functionality both on and off grid.

Local control means the end consumer is empowered to operate the system to their best needs. You are no longer inseparable from the power quality and costs of a sole utility provider. You now have options to leverage differing costs of raw fuels and renewables to reduce your costs, green your business, and reduce your emissions as you see fit.

Full functionality both on and off grid also allows you to separate from the macrogrid during times of outage, if hazardous weather is expected, or if it makes good financial sense to operate standalone.This may also allow for the reduction or complete removal of standard backup power solutions like UPS’s as your entire facility is now backed up inherently. This means no lost costs or down time associated with a utility outage. Ultimate Reliability.

 

 

 

References

  1. “Distributed Generation—Overview”.  Wikipedia. Retrieved 26 October, 2015.
  2. About Microgrids“.  Microgrids at Berkeley Lab. Retrieved 25 October, 2015.

Microgrids in the News

Microgrid Knowledge

microgrid news, products, policy and players

military microgridAnother military microgrid is on the drawing board, this one at California's Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett, which expects to issue a solicitation next month for a contractor to build the $10-to $20 million facility.
Author: Elisa Wood
Posted: April 20, 2018, 12:00 pm
private microgridsIn this edition of Industry Perspectives, Christie Hicks of the Environmental Defense Fund, sheds light on a new agreement with Illinois’ largest utility, ComEd, that may pave the way for private microgrids to use utility wires.
Author: Guest Post
Posted: April 19, 2018, 12:30 pm
microgridsWho knew he was envisioning his own home when three years ago in his inaugural address California Gov. Jerry Brown described a future with microgrids.
Author: Elisa Wood
Posted: April 18, 2018, 3:51 pm
renewable bio gasDuke University is exploring what it takes to acquire and transport renewable biogas from North Carolina hog farms for what may turn out to be a new, microgrid-ready combined heat and power (CHP) plant on the university’s main campus.
Author: Andrew Burger
Posted: April 18, 2018, 1:03 pm
resilienceIn an iconic photo from last August's Hurricane Harvey, a national guardsman in near waist-high flood waters carries a woman to safety on his back. The photo depicts a common thread found in disaster rescue – the military are called. So it makes sense that today’s movement to improve urban resilience – and add microgrids – sees the military as a natural ally.
Author: Elisa Wood
Posted: April 17, 2018, 4:13 pm