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Will Renewable Microgrids Improve Grid Resiliency?

Despite utilities best efforts, outages occur.  Traditionally, diesel backup generators have often been used for backup, but these systems have limitations. In response, a new generation of microgrid solutions, mainly based on renewables, are emerging that may offer an alternative.   

Utilities would like to produce energy 100% of the time,  seven days a week, 24 hours a day. However, equipment malfunctions, demand fluctuates, and humans make errors, creating unforeseen downtime. Traditionally, diesel fueled systems have been a popular backup choice. In fact, federal regulations require them in some cases, such as supplying backup energy to health care providers. This approach too is flawed. The systems may sit idle for long periods of time and fail when needed. Also, they can be expensive, and they are not environmentally friendly.

Microgrids fueled with renewable energy offer another alternative. In most cases, these solutions are used as a primary generator rather than a backup energy producer. Some of their features mesh well with backup system requirements. Renewable microgrids are relatively new, and have more modern and more flexible designs, and require less maintenance than diesel solutions. The downside is the renewable solutions can be expensive to buy and run. Do you see a role for renewable microgrids as a backup grid option? Why or why not?

Paul Korzeniowski's picture

Thank Paul for the Post!

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