What is a microgrid?
A microgrid is a local electric system or combined electric and thermal system that:
- Includes retail load and the ability to provide energy and energy management services needed to meet a significant proportion of the included load on a non-emergency basis;
- Can operate either in parallel or in isolation from the electrical grid; and
- When operating in parallel, can provide some combination of energy, capacity, ancillary or related services to the grid.
Benefits of Microgrids
Microgrids are a growing segment of the energy industry and represent a paradigm shift from remote central station power plants toward more localized, distributed generation for enhanced reliability, resiliency and energy efficiency, especially in cities, communities and campuses.Microgrids provide efficient, low-cost, clean energy, enhance local resiliency and improve the operation and stability of the regional electric grid. Microgrids provide dynamic responsiveness unprecedented for an energy resource.
By providing power when the grid is down and energy savings when the grid is operating, microgrids meet their hosts' needs for enhanced reliability, energy savings and reduced emissions. By responding flexibly to the needs of the grid, they deliver energy, capacity, and ancillary services that improve the reliability of the bulk power system and the efficiency of energy markets.
Challenges and Opportunities for Microgrid Implementation
Despite their many advantages, microgrids face significant barriers to widespread implementation. As a fundamental complication, microgrids face often-conflicting regulation at the federal, state and sometime local levels.
See the following selected presentations from recent IDEA Conferences exploring microgrid systems, challenges and opportunities:
- Best Practices from District Energy/Microgrid Implementations, Bob Smith, RMF Engineering, Proceedings, IDEA 104th Annual Conference, Miami, Florida, 2013.
- Princeton University Microgrid, Ted Borer, Princeton University, Proceedings, IDEA evolvingENERGY Conference, Toronto, Canada, 2014.
- Implementing Microgrids Or how I learned to stop worrying and love utility regulation, C. Baird Brown, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Proceedings, IDEA Campus Energy Conference, Denver Colorado, 2015.
- Boosting CHP Through State Portfolio Standards in the US, Mark Spurr, IDEA Legislative Director, Proceedings, IDEA 105th Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, 2014.
- CHP/District Energy in Cambridge, Mass.: Useful Heat, Reduced Emissions & Economic Gains, Bill DiCroce, President and Chief Operating Officer, Municipal & Commercial Business, Veolia North America, Proceedings IDEA 105th Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, 2014.
- Fort Collins Sustainability Master Plan: Microgrid Aware Concept, Jim Bererton, Integral Group, Proceedings, IDEA 28th CampusEnergy2015 Conference, Denver Colorado, 2015.
- Biomass and CHP Microgrid in Vermont: Burlington Case Study, Michael Ahern, Ever-Green Energy, Proceedings, IDEA 28th CampusEnergy2015 Conference, Denver Colorado, 2015.
- 5 MW CHP Microgrid at Gainesville Regional Utilities, Kurt Koenig, Burns & McDonnell; Chuck Heidt, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Proceedings, IDEA 28th CampusEnergy2015 Conference, Denver Colorado, 2015.
- Mission Critical Microgrids: Multi Case Studies Review, Justin Jurek, Piller USA, Proceedings, IDEA 28th Campus Energy2015 Conference, Denver Colorado, 2015.
The Microgrid Resources Coalition
The Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) is a consortium of owners, operators, developers, suppliers and investors formed to advocate for policies and regulations that support microgrid deployment -especially those anchored by district energy/CHP. The MRC is a subsidiary of IDEA.
For more information about microgrids and the MRC, please visit: http://www.microgridresources.com/About-MRC/About-MRC.aspx