This website advocates widespread development of microgrids/community-based power plants. It also discusses cold fusion technology that might be able, after further development, to be implemented as a prime source of power in these power plants. More and more individuals and communities are embracing microgrids to help them remain resilient in the face of natural disasters and accidents. Here’s how microgrids are currently being used and how they can benefit your community.
What is a Microgrid?
Microgrids consist of individually sized power sources that supply electricity to a few buildings or small communities. In the past, microgrids used gas-powered generators to produce this electricity. Now, more and more of them use solar power instead, thanks to the falling costs of solar cells. Many use battery storage to provide a steady stream of energy, regardless of the weather. Some microgrids are connected to the main grid but also capable of generating their own energy. They can continue providing electricity to homes and businesses at all times. The worldwide web provides a lot of technical information, as well as related training courses. For example, see the videos provided by Caterpillar Electric Power on “Fundamentals of a Renewable Energy Microgrid” and “4 Ways That Hybrid Electric Power Systems Can Reduce Facility Operating Cost” at https://www.cat.com/en_US/articles/support/electric-power-generation/power-systems-training.html.
Benefits of Microgrids
One of the main benefits of microgrids is their ability to become isolated from the long-distance power grid in the event of a power outage. When the long-distance grid goes down for any reason, microgrids can become islands that continue to produce and distribute electricity. This can be essential to hospitals and other public services during a natural disaster or other emergency. By diversifying power sources throughout a community, residents will receive more consistent, reliable energy and feel safer in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.
Microgrids also encourage the use of renewable resources. Instead of depending on fossil fuels and traditional power grids, consumers can use solar energy powered microgrids. Using renewable resources decreases environmental damage due to the mining and burning of fossil fuels, which can pollute the environment, contribute to climate change, and destroy the habitats of vulnerable species.
Thanks to the decreasing costs of solar power, microgrids can help communities reduce their electricity costs. Individual homeowners will benefit by saving money on their personal electric bills, and local governments may find that they have more money to spend on public services thanks to their switch from expensive fossil fuels. This can improve education, infrastructure, and more as savings increase over time.
Microgrids in Action
Microgrids that connect essential services, such as firehouses, hospitals, and schools, can ensure that they are able to remain operational in an emergency when the rest of the city has gone dark. When Hurricane Maria caused the longest power outage in U.S. history in 2017, concern about whether hospitals and emergency responders would be able to continue operating was high. With microgrids, this concern would have easily been mitigated.
Microgrids are in use or being planned in various communities across the United States. In California, fire departments have begun installing their own microgrids to help them combat deadly forest fires, which can damage power lines and make it difficult to receive information about areas in need of support. The U.S. military uses microgrids on bases throughout the country for strategic purposes, and the Department of Defense has dedicated its resources to implementing renewable power to help lessen the effects of climate change while ensuring that essential services remain active at all times. And, Boston has called for neighborhood networks of microgrids as part of its climate action plan, with other cities following suit in an effort to diminish climate change and environmental pollution.
Staying Informed with Green Tech Talk
Green Tech Talk is helping to inform the public about renewable energy technologies. By staying up to date, consumers can make educated choices about how they obtain and use energy in their everyday lives, from how they get to work to how they access power in their homes. If you’re interested in starting a community microgrid, you can begin the process by investing in an islanded solar storage system for your own home. Not only will this action help you save money over time, it will also benefit the environment and may encourage others within your neighborhood to install solar systems of their own, creating a stronger community network.