What is a Microgrid?
Microgrids are a localized electrical energy system. They are a way for energy from various sources (such as wind, solar, generators, etc.) to be stored in batteries or distributed to devices that need power using a computer-controlled interface. The uniqueness of microgrids is that they can function without any connection to the utility electric grid; this is called ‘island-mode’.
Image Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, DOE, 2019
Microgrids can power electric vehicles, homes, and much more. Sometimes the utility electric grid is used as the primary power source. When there is a utility grid outage, the microgrid can disconnect from the utility grid and continue powering devices.
Microgrids are studied and implemented across the world. Various colleges and universities in the United States, often in partnership with their local community, have their own, or research microgrids.
Some microgrid benefits include:
Ability to provide efficient, low-cost, clean energy
On-site energy storage
Higher reliability of distributed energy
Locally controlled and optimized