When A Microgrid Works and When It Doesn't
A microgrid is a localized group of electricity sources that under normal circumstances connect to a traditional electrical grid (macro grid), but when the situation calls for it, can disconnect to an island mode and function autonomously.
Microgrids are smaller versions of a centralized electricity system. They are constructed to achieve local goals of the community being served. Local goals can include reliability, carbon emission reductions, diversification of energy sources, and cost reductions. Microgrids generate power, distribute, and regulate the flow of electricity on a local scale. Smart microgrids are a good way of integrating renewable resources at the community level and also let customers participate in the electricity business. Microgrids are one of the building blocks of the perfect power system.
How does a microgrid work?
A microgrid is essentially a smaller version of the grid. The grid connects homes, businesses, and various other buildings to central power sources. This level of connection also means that when a part of the grid needs to be repaired or replaced, everyone is affected, which would normally result in a power outage or low voltage. This is where microgrids shine.
A microgrid, in normal circumstances, operates connected to the larger grid, but in times of need like natural disasters or a power outage, it can operate independently using local energy generation.
Microgrids are capable of being powered by renewable energy sources like solar energy which reduces the load on traditional fossil fuels and gives people access to clean energy. If a microgrid is planned correctly, it can run endlessly.
Why should a community consider a microgrid?
Microgrids are a great, reliable backup source of power in times of need. They should also be considered because they cut costs and give communities access to clean energy which is environmentally friendly. They can also connect to local resources which would be too small and unreliable for an entire grid system; resources like a local waterfall or unused fields which would otherwise remain unused are great resources to power a microgrid. Power cuts annoy everyone and microgrids could be the solution to ensure an uninterrupted flow of power which would be particularly useful in hospitals and research centers. Microgrids indirectly allow for the development of undeveloped places because of the reliability of energy consumption that comes with them.
Disadvantages of a microgrid
- Electrical energy needs to be stored in batteries which require space and maintenance.
- Re-synchronization with the main grid can be a problem.
- Issues such as standby charges as well as net metering are obstacles for microgrids.
- Microgrid protection is an obstacle standing against the implementation of microgrids.
- To ensure consistency, interconnection standards need to be developed.