How a Microgrid Could Meet Your Power Needs
The use of microgrids have been commonplace in remote locations where connection to a central power grid is either impossible or cost prohibitive. But with the emergence of new technologies, a growing number of municipalities, communities and companies are turning to microgrids as either a supplement or alternative to receiving power from the grid.
Today’s microgrids are increasingly an attractive alternative as improvements in technology have lowered costs of building a system. The economic shift means microgrids can now save money at the same time improving the environment.
“We’ve seen an increase in interest from customers who want to know how a microgrid might be a better alternative than simply a backup generator,” said Dmitry Kraskovsky of our Power Gen team.
What Constitutes a Microgrid
At its core, a microgrid generates power by using a combination of assets that can include solar panels, wind turbines, battery storage, diesel or generators, and a combination of heat and power modules that can operate separately or in parallel.
These systems provide flexibility to users and are designed specifically for that user’s needs. The controls are a critical component of each system to provide the exact energy mix for the user.
Reasons You’d Want a Microgrid
The specificity of each microgrid will have varying benefits to the user. But the primary drivers are cost savings and environmental benefits. Beyond that, a microgrid can provide the following benefits.
- Harnessing renewable energy – Companies and governments are moving toward reducing carbon footprints by using a larger mix of renewable energy. The renewable components of a microgrid match those initiatives.
- Diversified Power Source – Communities are dealing with increased threats to power sources from natural disasters and storms. Microgrids provide a more diverse alternative than just backup generators. The systems can also lower costs for energy customers by kicking in during a power grid’s peak usage periods.
- Energy Efficiency – Heat and power modules used in systems produce electricity and heat energy from the same fuel, doubling the efficiency and lowering fuel consumption.
- Emission Reduction – Traditional backup systems of diesel generators emit pollutants. The energy mix of a microgrid reduces an operator’s reliance on generators. It also makes it easier for operators to meet stricter environmental standards.
- Power Security – The aging infrastructure in North America makes reliance on a standard power grid a dicey proposition. Rolling blackouts are becoming more common as grids are unable to handle peak demand loads. Microgrids limit your reliance on the grid while ensuring power for users.
MTU is an industry leader in testing microgrids, including building a demonstrator system so customers can see first-hand how it operates and can meet their needs. Our expertise in designing systems utilizing MTU’s technology makes us the perfect partner to help you explore the benefits of a microgrid and how you might implement such a system.