Why Renewable Microgrids Now?

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The simple answer, of course, is that renewables create clean energy. But it turns out the argument for renewable microgrids is evolving — a lot. 

renewable microgrids

Nathan Adams of Hitachi ABB will discuss renewable microgrids in a webinar at 2 pm, August 5

Renewables can offer better price, fuel security and reliability, especially when compared with diesel generators, according to Nathan Adams, director of technology and business development at Hitachi ABB.

Adams will be the featured speaker in a Microgrid Knowledge webinar, “What You Need to Know about Renewable Microgrids Now,” 2 pm ET, August 5, 2020.

Adams says it’s important to look at both remote and grid-connected microgrids in considering the benefits of renewables.

“The conversation is a bit different between these two and the business case is different too,” he told Microgrid Knowledge.

Remote microgrids tend to rely on diesel fuels. But in an analysis of microgrids on the Carribean islands, Hitachi ABB has found that “there is a very compelling delta between cost of solar versus diesel — enormous savings to be had even when diesel hits its very lowest price point,” Adams said.

Renewables also offer fuel security, as Adams illustrated in describing a microgrid under development in Northern Alberta, Canada. The community, which uses diesel to generate its electricity, relies on truck delivery of diesel fuel via an ice road in winter. 

The community uses almost as much fuel as it can store — and its electricity consumption is growing. Meanwhile the ice road is becoming available less often. 

With the help of a solar and storage microgrid, the community will reduce its diesel fuel consumption 25%.

Renewables add value only to a point

Adams also noted that adding renewables to a microgrid offers economic value only to a point. 

“There is an inflexion where the marginal value starts to plummet; we call that the optimized renewable point. That’s where we really target our efforts in techno economic analysis to help a customer optimize the design and dimensioning of their hybrid microgrid,” he said.

He added that grid-connected microgrids (which account for most US systems) achieve value differently than remote renewable microgrids.

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“When we think about microgrids in a grid-tied environment, we introduce the concept of value stacking — using the assets within your microgrid, as they are grid-tied, to provide forms of monetization through ancillary and peripheral services available to a grid connected customer, a prosumer.”

August 5 webinar

Adams will provide more details, including economic analysis and case studies, during the August 5 webinar. Register free of charge here.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

Comments

  1. ““When we think about microgrids in a grid-tied environment, we introduce the concept of value stacking — using the assets within your microgrid, as they are grid-tied, to provide forms of monetization through ancillary and peripheral services available to a grid connected customer, a prosumer.””

    As the “industrialized” nations IOU electric utilities, fight to keep their “regulated monopolies”, many utility programs have been implemented. Things like residential demand charges or TOU rate spiking periods, that just help dilute the value of a grid tied solar PV system. Court cases and regulatory claims, net metering should be abolished and net billing be inserted into this space. When solar PV excess generation is forced into a price range of 1.5 cents to 2 cents/kWh, then it is best for the solar PV owner to become self consuming with no more excess energy going to the grid. Taking a 6 to 8 hours solar PV generation resource, storing excess into a smart ESS and using the energy after solar PV hours can make that system a 16 hour a day self consumption system. Over size the solar PV array, step up the battery energy storage and one could get on (average) a 24 hour system, therefore using the grid as backup and surge administration with high current start loads.

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