Elisa Wood, editor-in-chief of Microgrid Knowledge, will discuss the “The Evolving Microgrid Market: Who’s Building Microgrids, Why and Where,” Thursday, June 22 at the Alexandria Alternative Energy Meetup in Alexandria, Va.
Wood describes microgrids as the “Einstein” of the new electric grid.
“Green energy is no longer enough. We need smart and green. That’s what the microgrid revolution is all about,” said Wood.
Being adopted throughout North America, microgrids are onsite generation sources that serve buildings, business parks, campuses, communities, government complexes and homes.
Using highly sophisticated software, advanced microgrids achieve efficiencies not available to conventional “dumb” generation. Microgrids manage energy resources for maximum reliability, efficiency, price, and environmental performance.
Most important, microgrids can connect or disconnect (island) from the central grid. Disconnected, microgrids keep the power flowing to their customers during a storm or other times when the central grid fails. Connected, microgrids arbitrage pricing and provide services to the central grid that reduce customer energy costs, while also making the grid stronger.
“Microgrids are unique in their ability to be at once local energy and at the same time a service to the larger grid,” Wood said.
Where large centralized power plants are finding it increasingly difficult to compete in markets, nimble microgrids excel, providing the kind of quick response needed to address congestion and peak demand, according to Wood.
Also important, microgrids offer immediate societal benefits during an emergency. If a storm or cyberattack takes down the central power grid, the local microgrid acts as a place of refuge, a site where the electricity still flows, where people can gather, get food, charge phones, and contact family.
Wood’s talk will offer a look at the microgrid market today and a vision of what’s ahead as communities in places like Pittsburgh and Chicago strive to create a ‘grid of microgrids.’
Registration information is available at Alexandria Alternative Energy Meetup.
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