“The technology’s changing fast, and new energy sources are going to be available,” Ellis says during the most recent edition of Microgrid Talk. “Microgrid systems at their core have to be agnostic to be able to take in and replace energy sources without a big infrastructure change.”
Jaimie Hamilton, technical adviser for Cummins, agrees, saying that with advanced controllers and more interconnection between assets, some system updates can be done without anybody even stepping foot on site. “It could be an upgrade to your software, a change in your operational procedures, it could be adding additional assets within a controller that’s flexible,” Hamilton says. But the key is taking a holistic view of your energy ecosystem so that you can “add those assets now, or in 10 years in order to meet the specific goals at the time.”
Jana Gerber, North American microgrid president for Schneider Electric, adds that innovation will come as we continue to think about microgrid use cases. “Think about the use case of reduction of energy, the use case of adding electrification, the use case of reaching sustainability goals,” Gerber says. “How do you continuously add on to that through just the controls and the vision of the customer and what’s possible?”
One part of the answer, according to Gerber, is artificial intelligence and machine learning. She believes both will enhance the optimization of microgrids.
In the video, Ellis, Hamilton and Gerber also discuss other areas where the industry needs to see more innovation, including energy storage, digital interoperability and long-term resiliency.