Have you ever heard someone talk about the idea of a “microgrid” and wondered what that meant? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have only a vague understanding what it is. Basically, microgrids are local energy grids where electricity is generated and consumed by the same community. They operate as independent units but can be connected to a larger grid when necessary. Although they may sound futuristic or experimental, microgrids have been around for decades, and many more cities are exploring them as part of their energy plans for the future. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the benefits that microgrids can bring to communities large and small.
Microgrids can save time and money.
In addition to the obvious benefits of power reliability, microgrids can also save time and money. When a grid is down due to widespread outages or infrastructure damage such as an earthquake, restoring power can take days or weeks depending on the severity of the issue. In comparison, a microgrid can be up in just hours—or minutes if it’s powered by a renewable energy source like solar panels.
From there, energy loss due to transmission lines that stretch across long distances becomes less of an issue when you’re generating your own electricity within your community. And even if you’re not producing enough energy on your own with renewables like solar panels or wind turbines, there may still be ways for you to benefit from local generation sources like small-scale hydropower dams and biomass plants that operate in tandem with large-scale central power plants (like nuclear).
Microgrids boost local energy security.
Microgrids can help reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, as well as mitigate their impact when they do occur.
- Microgrids maximize the use of local generation sources, making them less reliant on centralized utilities for energy. This means that microgrid customers can keep their lights on during emergencies by drawing from their own stored resources, such as batteries or natural gas-fired generators. This not only reduces the need for costly grid upgrades but also reduces transmission line damage from storms and other hazards that cause outages in traditional systems.
- Microgrids allow multiple users to share a single electric grid connection, which reduces costs for everyone involved—and facilitates faster recovery after an outage because more people are working together at once instead of waiting for permission from utility companies before rebuilding (or just powering up).
Microgrids are reliable and resilient.
When you look at the benefits of microgrids, you’ll notice that a microgrid’s reliability and resilience is its biggest advantage.
Microgrids are more reliable than traditional grids because they use renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. When the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, these power sources can be used to store energy in batteries or other storage devices so that it can later be used by customers when there is an outage on their electricity system. This means that microgrids don’t need to depend on large external sources like coal or nuclear power plants for backup generation—they can function independently without them!
Microgrids can be easy to maintain and manage.
Because microgrids are modular and can be customized, they can be scaled easily. This means that you can start small and add more modules as needed. Microgrids also lend themselves well to maintenance. Their modular design makes them easy to take apart and put back together, which is crucial for troubleshooting any issues that arise in the grid’s operation. Additionally, microgrids are managed remotely with software or mobile apps that allow operators to monitor the system from anywhere in the world over a secure connection.
If you need help managing your microgrid, it’s possible to hire one person who will oversee all aspects of operations or use a team approach where each member has specific responsibilities such as monitoring equipment performance or preparing budgets for capital expenditures (CAPEX).
Microgrids help integrate renewables.
Microgrids can help integrate renewables at the local level, which is important because the US relies on a large amount of coal-powered electricity (more than any other country).
This means that there’s a lot of potential for microgrids to help integrate renewable energy sources.
Microgrids can reduce carbon emissions.
In addition to preserving the environment, microgrids can reduce carbon emissions. Microgrids that use renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, reduce reliance on fossil fuels. This increases energy efficiency and reduces demand for fossil fuels. It also helps to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
Microgrids can provide a lot of benefits to a community, from the individual to the city level.
A microgrid can provide a lot of benefits to a community, from the individual to the city level. Microgrids can help save money and time for each person in a community. They also help save energy for the city itself.
Microgrids are typically cheaper than investing in large-scale solar or wind energy projects, which need to be built out over larger areas and require capitalization by governments or private companies. They’re also easier to build because they don’t require massive infrastructure investment—you just have to add on more solar panels!
We think microgrids are the future of energy, and we’ve only scratched the surface here. If you decide to learn more about microgrids, you’ll probably find a number of interesting stories about how this technology is already making a difference. Microgrids can seem complicated at first, but we think that what they do for communities is pretty straightforward: they give people access to clean power when and where they need it. It sounds simple—but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it! We believe in the potential of microgrids and look forward to bringing this technology to more communities around the world.
Martin is one of the co-founders of ecoligo, a business focussed on finance and operation of solar PV projects in developing countries. Before starting his own business, he was the Vice President of Engineering for OneShore Energy, a company focused on PV/Diesel hybrid systems. Before he gained experience as Business Development Manager for the business unit Renewable Integration and Microgrids with ABB. Before working for ABB, Martin was responsible for the launch and management of European activities for Australia-based Powercorp Pty. Ltd., which used to be the world market leader in high-penetration renewable energy off-grid systems, before being acquired by ABB. Earlier he worked as a research & development engineer for Powercorp in Australia. He started his career at a German regional utility and worked on the grid integration of PV plants. He is certified expert in climate and renewable energy finance by Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Martin studied at the Steinbeis University in Berlin and holds a Master of Business and Engineering. He also has a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering from Trier University of Applied Science and is a qualified electrical technician. He speaks German, English and Dutch.