Microgrids are local energy networks for electricity, heating, and cooling that can supply buildings, campuses, or communities with energy. They can supply their energy needs independently (at least partly) from renewable energy, or other forms of energy, such as hydrogen or biomass, heat pumps, wind turbines, or combined heat and power. Smart Microgrids have their own control system and can be operated to achieve multiple goals such as increased resiliency or reduced costs.
Effective planning and operation of Microgrids minimizes perceived financial risks of investing in renewable energy solutions, increases system efficiency, reduces losses, and improves the integration of intermittent generation resources such as Solar PV. If needed, they can be decoupled from the wider utility grid and can operate also during grid outages or natural disasters.
The Global Microgrid Market will grow by $19 billion between 2020-2024 and reach almost $50 billion in 2025, according to Market Research. The Department of Defense has also showed signs of endorsing migrogrids and renewable energy.
To date most Microgrid projects are treated as unique projects with no standardization in the planning and control phases of the project. As such, many Microgrid projects face financial uncertainty due to major challenges in existing planning and design methods that require multiple, complex steps, and multiple disconnected software tools. Current approaches to planning and control limit commercialization of Microgrids as they are not easily repeatable, scalable, or auditable.
Thus, a reliable, integrated, and streamlined process is needed that guides the Microgrid developer, investor and engineer through the design, engineering, business case, implementation, and operation in a standardized and data driven way, creating reliable results and financial indicators that can be audited and repeated by investors, financiers, planners and technical staff.
This series page features articles describing some of the key aspects of Microgrid planning and operation. Click below to learn more.