The 21st century is experiencing energy transition challenges. Microgrids have emerged as a practical solution to these challenges. They provide a way for communities to access reliable, green and resilient energy by using a local interconnected energy system with well-demarcated electrical boundaries. What makes them one of the hottest topics is that the Microgrid creates green energy and decentralized solutions, which answer the 21st-century energy problems.
What is a microgrid?
Simply put, a microgrid is a condensed version of the bigger power grid that powers the country. They are used as the power source for smaller communities. However, they might not generate sufficient electricity to operate utterly autonomous from the primary grid.
At the moment, they mainly work as back up to the main grid. The microgrids are usually powered using distributed generators and batteries. They can also utilize renewable energy sources like solar panels.
What are the 21st-century energy challenges?
Centralized power systems are experiencing problems that could be addressed by decentralized systems like the microgrids. The new challenges can be described from the energy transition context. Here are some of the energy transition challenges that the microgrid could help fix.
The electricity demand is expected to rise according to projections by the US Energy Information Administration. The projections are based on the continued world population growth, an increasing number of electrical machines and the upward trend of global urbanization. The main concern is the energy demand is going up at a time when carbon dioxide emissions ought to decrease.
There is a considerable amount of carbon dioxide emissions emanating from electricity generation. The quantity of the emissions is directly proportional to the amount of electricity generated and the sources used. To reduce the quantity of carbon dioxide emissions, the energy sector must adopt cleaner energy sources.
Microgrids also come in handy in developed countries with less resilient power grids. In cases of severe weather, some communities face power outages that last for long. Such blackouts usually cost businesses billions of dollars each year.
Benefits of microgrids
Microgrids present numerous benefits by offering realistic solutions to energy transition challenges. First, they provide reliability through their capability to operate separately from the primary grid. Whenever there are challenges with the main grid, the microgrid is swiftly disconnected from the main grid and continues to provide local communities with energy produced from local sources.
Moreover, microgrids can help achieve optimization of energy costs and flexibility. The microgrid control system can apply the best mix of resources using energy storage and demand-response programs. It can also be useful in offering grid-balancing services.
Another critical contribution microgrids offer is the ability to incorporate inexpensive renewable energy that could help reduce carbon emissions and the cost of fuel. Also, they enable energy to be available at a reasonable cost.
Even though microgrids’ future is still blurred, their numerous benefits make them a hotly pursued phenomenon.