What are Microgrids and Why Are They Important?

A microgrid comprises self-sufficient energy sources within the same geographical area that join the central power grid. Additionally, microgrids can disconnect from the central grid and run independently. For instance, if a power outage occurs in the central power grid, the microgrid operates in island mode to provide reliable power.

As the world continues to embrace renewable energy production, most microgrids utilize solar energy and wind power. These microgrids also use battery banks for electrical storage.

Essentially, microgrids play a crucial role in meeting the nation’s overall electricity demand. Here are the top reasons why microgrids are essential.

Enhanced Reliability

The Department of Energy reports that electrical power outages are highly prevalent in the US. Power outages not only disrupt normal operations but can also cause immense damage. In 2012, the deadly Superstorm Sandy caused outages in 15 states and DC, affecting over eight million consumers.

Microgrids provide reliable backup power in the event of a national power outage. Subsequently, essential facilities, including hospitals and schools, can retain sustainable running. Advanced microgrids utilize smart energy systems to enhance independent power delivery further.

Improved Renewable Energy

As aforementioned, most microgrids use green energy sources, hence, reducing the environmental pollution. To a vast extent, microgrids minimize dependence on fossil fuels. Combined heat and power plants (CHP) use natural gas, which is cleaner than fossil fuels. With the ongoing digital transformation, advanced microgrids utilize intelligence technologies to ensure minimal carbon footprint.

Better Energy Resilience

Microgrids are vital role players when it comes to enhancing grid resilience. Microgrids ensure that businesses and other critical facilities are well-equipped to avoid unexpected power interruption. In case electricity disruption occurs, microgrids restore power immediately, promoting ultimate convenience and efficiency. Consequently, customers can enjoy better price stability and enhanced comfort.

Reduced Energy Utilities

Local energy production significantly contributes to minimal generation costs. With local production, transmitting power from the energy sources to electrical loads is way cheaper. Additionally, intelligent energy systems consist of advanced programs to ensure efficient energy consumption.

Enhanced Economic Growth

Microgrids have come in handy to boost both local and national economic growth. The development of microgrids provides a wide range of business and job opportunities, especially for the local community. Recently, California established a new program to train electrician on microgrid-based knowledge and skills.

Most importantly, microgrids prevent massive economic losses arising from power outages. For large factories, electrical disruption for about 30 minutes could lead to losses amounting to over $15,000.

A reliable power supply ensures uninterrupted business operations, increasing the overall profits. Moreover, microgrids promote innovative research regarding intelligent power systems.

Better Cybersecurity

Top-tier cybersecurity is among the most crucial grid features. The US central grid is highly susceptible to unprecedented cyberattacks. In 2019, electrician reported communication loss in various power generation sites due to a power grid attack in the Western US.

Microgrids comprise distributed energy sources. In the event of a cyberattack on one energy source, the microgrids use other unaffected power sources.

Military facilities are gradually developing military-grade microgrids to ensure excellent cybersecurity. Ameren Illinois recently established a microgrid project that utilizes an advanced military base controller.

Microgrids build not only economic value but also empower vulnerable communities. As the global energy demand continues to rise, smart microgrids are the best way to enhance sustainable and clean power.

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