The City of Santa Monica, Calif., recently received a $1.5 million grant to plan and design a microgrid that will incorporate renewable energy (including solar), combined heat and power, small-scale waste-to-energy, energy storage and electric vehicle charging.
One byproduct of the renewable economy has been the growth of microgrids, as large institutions and communities look for new ways to accommodate distributed generation and utilities take measures to increase grid reliability.
Energy consumer demand for distributed-energy resources (DER) is growing for a number of reasons—unexpected utility power outages, planned rolling blackouts, power quality problems, increases in power costs, etc.
The growth of renewables and other energy technology is not just changing the way consumers get their power. The trend toward nontraditional fuel sources also is contributing inadvertently to the growth of other, previously ancillary systems that are riding the wave of green technology.
In December 2014, it was announced that GE Global Research, GE Energy Consulting, National Grid (a utility in the Northeast), the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.) were forming a partnership in a research project to develop an
Microgrids are providing exciting opportunities for electrical contractors. The microgrid was conceived to provide a reliable energy supply to remote geographical locations where it is not economical to extend traditional electric utilities.
It hasn’t been easy to live in Connecticut the last couple years. First Hurricane Irene slammed through the state in August 2011, leaving some residents without electricity for weeks. A freak Halloween snowstorm two months later brought wires down again.
As alternative-energy sources become more commonplace, the need for infrastructure to support their expanding reach into mainstream energy markets is also on the rise. Microgrids have emerged as an ideal technology to meet this growing demand.