Our modern electricity grid is actually not very modern. Society needs a grid that is greener, more reliable, and more resilient to extreme weather. Microgrids can provide for all three of these needs.
So what is a microgrid? A microgrid is a small, freestanding grid of power sources, power users, connections between sources and users, and a control system to operate it all.
Microgrids will store energy when it’s cheap, provide energy when it’s expensive, and serve as backup capacity. New software, energy storage technology, smart appliances, and cheap solar are contributing to the potential for the wider development of microgrids.
Microgrids can be embedded within the larger grid so that a flip can be switched to provide the microgrid with power in the case of a black-out. This can be important for certain buildings like hospitals and data centres. But technology is developing for wider implementation of microgrids for neighbourhoods and communities.
Overall, microgrids can be more efficient than centralized systems that have significant points of failure. Energy use will be more localized with microgrids which can allow for more energy conservation. Microgrids will also decrease power user’s dependency on large utilities, power plants, and transmission lines.
Energy use will change dramatically from microgrids over the next few years. For the better.