Microgrid is becoming more and more a well-known term, at least in the energy industry — and are gaining in popularity. But even as community microgrids gain in number, the “Oasis Microgrid” is still in the shadows.
A new report from Hoffman Power Consulting aims to answer the question: “What on earth is the oasis community microgrid?” This is a microgrid that offers a centralized community refuge — or oasis — during an extreme event. But is it feasible today as extreme weather and wildfires increase in intensity and frequency, the report asks?
“Due primarily to various regulatory and institutional barriers, only a handful have been implemented in the U.S,” according to the report. This white paper examines this potential “superhero of microgrids.”
Why the huge potential? Let’s start from the beginning.
Over the last few decades, the report reminds us that over 2,200 commercial/industrial energy users, universities, military bases, and public facilities around the world have implemented microgrids to cut down on electric power costs, ramp up clean power and spur forward decarbonization efforts.
And these days, with energy resilience front and center for many, community microgrids are gaining steam, as well.
“Local communities increasingly recognize that resilience to extreme events begins at home, at the community level –and that’s where the community microgrid resides.” — Hoffman Power Consulting
In contrast to most existing microgrids, which each power only one electricity customer, a community microgrid can keep electricity flowing in the area it serves, thereby increasing local community resilience.
“An oasis community microgrid can further extend the community microgrid to provide a centrally-located refuge for its residents during an extreme event,” the report contends.
The reasoning is a community center or school in the microgrid can help provide a site for residents to gather information and support, recharge cell phones, and/or receive medical treatment and emergency water and more.
An oasis community microgrid could include the following within its boundaries, for example:
- a school, community center or senior center
- a food warehouse or grocery store
- a hardware store
- an urgent-care facility
- or a gas station
Potential benefits include:
- Reducing the incidence and severity of power outages
- Maintaining electric power to critical loads
- Reducing electricity costs
- Expanding use of clean energy
- Reducing air emissions and providing other environmental benefits
- Meeting sustainability goals
- Protecting human health and safety, and saving lives during extreme events
Download the full report, “What on Earth is the Oasis Community Microgrid?” courtesy of Hoffman Power Consulting, to learn more about the potential of the oasis community microgrid and how it can assist in energy resiliency efforts.