It’s pretty clear from the name of this site that we like microgrids. In fact, we see microgrids as the next big play in the world’s clean energy transformation. We’ve launched Microgrid Knowledge to both track and encourage the rise of this extraordinary technology.
Why extraordinary? It’s not often that an energy system comes along that offers so much universal benefit. Microgrids are helping rural African communities rise out of poverty, while at the same time bolstering the work of some of the world’s most sophisticated research universities and data centers in the United States.
Today’s microgrids are the culmination of the energy improvements and innovation of the last 30 years. Consider what they include – most of clean energy’s most valuable technologies – renewables, combined heat and power, district energy, smart grid software and systems management, energy storage, energy efficiency and demand response. It’s easy to see why microgrids are attractive to business eco parks and other green-minded enterprises.
Perhaps most interesting, they can keep the lights on when the central grid goes down, as US microgrids so expertly proved during Superstorm Sandy. We all know how crucial reliable electricity is for an economy that runs on the Internet. That’s why the military, police, hospitals and supermarkets increasingly install microgrids.
Microgrids are great in a crisis. But they’re also good to have around the rest of the time too. They can connect or disconnect from the central grid. And when they are connected, microgrids can supply services to utilities – such as voltage control and demand response.
What’s the future for microgrids? Just as home buyers and businesses now check out the quality of schools, roads and parks before they move into an area, they will someday be asking real estate agents: “Is there a microgrid in the neighborhood?”
But there are a lot of microgrids to be developed before we get there. We look forward to following and fostering the progress.
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