Cold fact: Microgrids Provide Energy Resiliency to Protect Against Food Loss and Waste

March 14, 2023
Ken Hurd, PowerSecure National Accounts discusses the importance of energy resiliency in reliable food supply.

Because of the importance of a reliable food supply, companies like PowerSecure provide distributed energy solutions to this market which helps strengthen resiliency while providing a means to manage energy expenses. 

I have witnessed the incredible efforts which have taken place in the food supply to create an innovative approach to provide improved efficiencies in the overall operations of facilities. This industry is using data analytics and investing in technology to meet the ultimate goal of serving its clients in the most cost-effective way and ensuring reliability of the food supply is achieved.

Some of these investments in technology focus on the management of energy expenses utilizing the advancement in distributed energy technologies to support achieving sustainability goals while maintaining energy costs and reducing business risk from power outages. The integration of these distributed energy technologies forms what is commonly known today as a microgrid.

For distribution centers that have medium temperature refrigeration, energy resiliency is critical. The value of a microgrid is more than a financial return, it includes the ability to mitigate food loss due to power outages which can be caused by various reasons including grid instability. Many in the food industry use backup generators for standby purposes, however, does this adequately address the industry’s need?  At PowerSecure, we believe a comprehensive approach should be taken to identify the proper distributed energy resources to maximize the value of the microgrid. This supports the utility grid, achieves energy cost reduction for the facility, improves energy resiliency, reduces carbon emissions and therefore drives a greater return on investment from the microgrid.

When a company values resiliency, it’s incumbent on the microgrid industry to demonstrate the value of utilizing a microgrid by developing a value proposition that fully identifies all potential programs and market opportunities achievable. A microgrid controller is the central tool to allow for the optimization of the distributed energy assets that are a part of the microgrid while leveraging utility and market programs and energy revenues making the microgrid a seamless, beneficial asset to the end user.

A microgrid controller is a vital part of a microgrid system that manages the flow of electricity between different energy sources and loads within the microgrid. Essentially, it acts as the brain of the microgrid, ensuring that the system operates efficiently and reliably. The microgrid controller is responsible for monitoring the energy supply and demand within the microgrid, as well as managing energy storage devices and coordinating the use of distributed energy resources such as solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells, and generators. It can also manage the connection and disconnection of the microgrid to the main power grid, allowing it to operate either independently or in parallel with the larger grid. By optimizing the use of available energy resources the microgrid controller can help improve energy efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance the resilience of the microgrid in the face of power outages or other disruptions.

Microgrids can play a significant role in the indoor farming space, where energy-efficient solutions are becoming increasingly important. Indoor farming requires a constant and reliable source of electricity to maintain ideal growing conditions, and a microgrid can help manage this energy supply in a sustainable and cost-effective way. By integrating renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines, as well as battery energy storage systems, a microgrid can help indoor farms reduce their reliance on the main power grid and minimize their carbon footprint. By integrating the microgrid controller and the building management system, the energy supply and demand are optimized, ensuring that energy is used efficiently and that costs are controlled. Overall, a microgrid, and in particular, the microgrid controller, can help indoor farms operate more sustainably, enhance their resilience, and reduce their environmental impact, making it a valuable tool in this rapidly growing industry.

PowerSecure is fortunate to play a role in aiding our clients in meeting their energy, sustainability, and resiliency goals. Power reliability is not an option, it is critical in the food supply industry. Microgrid expertise is critical to ensure the system is designed to meet all operational parameters and provide a more secure food supply process.

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