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Microgrids: A solution for modern-day energy challenges

By District Energy posted 12-22-2021 09:58

  

pv magazine

Summary

With a traditional utility grid, electricity is generated at central power plants and transported over long distances. Buildings and municipalities connect to this power through a series of substations and transmission lines. With few redundant paths for energy to be delivered, thousands of users can be left without power if one part of the grid fails or needs to be repaired.

In contrast, a microgrid uses local energy sources to generate power for individual buildings or a campus of buildings. Microgrids can operate autonomously (in “island mode”) or be connected to the larger utility grid, making it more adaptable and resilient.

When a microgrid connects to the primary grid, it parallels the grid, matching its characteristics, such as voltage, frequency, and phase rotation. Depending upon the generation capacity, in circumstances such a partial shutdown of a central power plant, utilities can use the microgrid as a back-up generation source.

Some of the local, distributed energy resources utilized by microgrids can include engine generators and/or renewable sources, such as solar, wind, or hydropower. Many newer microgrids also incorporate energy storage and electric vehicle charging stations.

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