Microgrids area new concept in the field of clean, safe, and controlled energy supply. They are a customized energy grid, where efficiency and constant supply are key elements.
What are microgrids?
Microgrids are customized small-scale energy grids. Their systems allow for the control and summation of different energy sources, for example, wind and generator energy, among others.
Smart grids can supply users of the electricity grid. You only need the appropriate devices. Thus, they are considered an important alternative in the use of renewable resources in communities.
Why are microgrids relevant?
Microgrids’ main purposes are to make electricity supply and demand flexible. In this way, general power blackouts can be reduced. They tend to be more cost-effective and they supply electric energy to inaccessible areas (Ferran, 2015).
Also, they promote more efficient management of electricity use in several subsystems such as rural areas and residential and industrial centers.
Advantages and benefits
These customizable systems for the appropriate management of energy offer several advantages such as reliability, endurance, efficiency, and safety.
It would be catastrophic if military bases, hospitals, and other similar facilities were short of electricity supply. This is where microgrids become relevant. They have a combination of systems allowing for their automated and efficient operation. You will have as much electric energy as you need whenever you want.
For example, the Pegasus Project analyzes the operation of seven microgrids in different pilot areas. In the face of the challenge of the harnessing of renewable energies, the flexibility of microgrids offers many advantagessuch as (ABENGOA, 2018):
- Reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases and polluting emissions.
- A decrease in general energy consumption.
- Better quality of services.
Five ways in which microgrids complement smart grids
Here you can find some of the ways in which microgrids complement smart grids (CHILE & FOKUS-INNOCITY, 2014):
- The fusion of telecommunications and electricity. Appliances and devices exchange information and electricity automatically with the energy grid. Therefore, users have the chance to select the most convenient times and the most efficient costs for the use of energy.
- Electronic monitoring of distribution systems in order to direct – in the most precise way – the energy flow, to anticipate disturbances, and to correct them before they take place. In this way, the high costs of these interruptions can be avoided.
- The transformation of the present unidirectional electricity meter into a dual portal. This will enable the energy to flow from and to the user while sending price signals too.
- Perfect integration of energy local resources where the plug-in of hybrid electric cars and solar energy are included. Final users are therefore free to buy and sell the excess energy. This helps to identify the clean energy standards local governments can implement.
- Management software and smart controls are the core of the microgrids. Different control systems can track the energy demands of the facility. They can determine how to supply the required energy as well.
The present and the future
Energy decentralization through microgrids is one of the most important technological advances these days. They respond to the present energy challenges, and they establish an optimization culture for energy distribution in the electricity system (Silos, 2017).
Not long ago, microgrids were considered a future technology. Nevertheless, the present COVID-19 pandemic has shown that they are a big help in the continuity of operations. There is still a long way to go to the implementation of this system. We have to be optimistic about every technological advance supporting sustainable development, and we must work actively and have great expectations in the face of the future.
Referencias bibliográficas:ABENGOA. (February 14, 2018). ¿Qué es una microgrid?
Chilectra. (2014). Energía inteligente.
EcoInventos. (May 27, 2018). Microgrids, ‘islas de energía’ que garantizan la fiabilidad y eficiencia del suministro.
Ferran, M. (July 16, 2015). Las microgrids, un nuevo concepto de abastecimiento energético controlado, fiable y limpio. Etecnic.
Silos, A. (January 25, 2017). Microgrid y retos energéticos. ¿Cómo se relacionan? Schneider Electric.