Imagine the vast network of transmission cables crisscrossing the globe, and you cannot help but wonder at the engineering marvel that power grids are. They transformed how humans lived by ushering in industrialization and digitalization.
However, the issue with the conventional power grids is that they have not changed with the times; they are still bulky, non-scalable, exorbitantly costly, and susceptible to the vagaries of nature.
So, what’s the way out? Should a community resign itself to its fate whenever a grid collapses? Should it normalize outages and live in the dark? They must if they do not embrace microgrids.
Microgrids are an alternative to the conventional grids in that the former operates on a much lower scale and caters to a smaller location or community. Since they do not transmit as much power as conventional grids, they can easily tap into independent renewable energy sources with lower generation capacities.
Microgrids are essential for businesses eying continuous uptime and communities seeking uninterrupted power supply. They are a reliable backup for tackling disruptions and powering critical services when the conventional grids fail.
What is a Microgrid?
A microgrid is a localized network of inter-connected electricity sources. Each power generation component – wind turbines and solar panels – are directly connected to onsite battery banks, helping them function independently of a central power station.
For communities and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, microgrids offer a greener alternative as they leverage renewable resources without consuming fossil fuel.
By creating a modular generation and consumption ecosystem, microgrids help power far-flung areas where utility companies are hard put to offer reliable service. Such modularity is especially useful for areas prone to natural disasters and resultant outages.
How do microgrids differ from conventional grids?
Microgrids are more resilient and secure than conventional grids because the former can be decentralized and is self-sustaining. For instance, in a conventional grid, any failure can impact the whole region serviced by it. However, as microgrid ecosystems are modular, failure in one area does not affect others. Also, the isolated area suffering downtime can resume functioning in no time.
Microgrids also empower people to make intelligent choices affirming their commitment to mitigating climate change. By tapping into renewable sources, microgrids address the issue of emissions while powering communities and businesses.
Cost-efficient and tradable
Here’s how microgrids offer a cheap alternative to communities:
- Small-scale grids mean lesser overhead and equipment costs.
- Fewer components translate into lower maintenance costs.
- Since microgrids deal in lesser power, the generation and transmission costs are also low.
Microgrids can be linked with smart meters and set up for peer-to-peer energy trading within the grid. Consumers can sell surplus energy to others, giving a fillip to energy-saving and conservation initiatives.
Here are some other advantages that microgrids have over their conventional counterparts:
- Zero transmission loss since power is generated and consumed within a small community. There is no need to transmit power over long distances.
- Since AI handles operations, the scope of loss due to inefficient processes is negligible.
- There is little to zero distribution loss due to poor insulation or inadequate ductwork.
- It ensures zero transmission loss and has a low upfront investment; no hefty budget for erecting poles or laying cables.
Micro Grids are Localized
Microgrids are localized and small-scale, meaning they’re self-sustaining and independent. Though they can be distributed over a wide area, they can still function independently of any central station. In a microgrid, power gets generated and dispatched locally.
As AI does all heavy-lifting, microgrids can operate independently and balance load smartly during peak hours when conventional grids become overloaded or unavailable.
Microgrids are modular and can be scaled up or down depending on the requirement of their users. Microgrid technologies do not demand heavy infrastructure changes after successful installation. Businesses/communities can manage any spike in consumption by installing more hardware components (solar panels, wind turbines, etc.).
Microgrids assure higher availability and scalability and are cost-effective, sustainable, and clean since they leverage renewable energy sources. They are a boon to far-flung communities and incentivize energy conservation by enabling peer-to-peer trading. Microgrids are driving an energy revolution, and the question is not if but when will you jump on to the bandwagon?
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