How does a Micro Grid work?
As briefly described in our other post, a micro grid is a localised energy grid. Generally linked to the main grid. Having the capability to disconnect automatically and function as its own independent grid when necessary.
Traditionally homes and businesses connect to the National Grid transmission lines. Transporting our electricity from where it is generated. Think of it as a very large interconnected web. Micro grids generally operate while connected to the grid, but importantly, it can break off and operate on its own using local energy generation in times of crisis like storms or power outages, or for other reasons (e.g. repairs further up the line).
Micro grid powered by;
- Distributed generators.
- Renewable resources like solar panels and wind turbines.
A micro grid could run indefinitely, dependant on management and fuelling.
Micro grids connect to the grid. This is at a point of common coupling that maintains voltage at the same level as the main grid, unless there is some sort of problem on the grid or other reason to disconnect. A switch can separate the micro grid from the main grid automatically or manually, and it then functions as an island.
Micro grids not only allow you to optimise the power source but also the power use. For example, a micro grid could deal with an energy shortage not by cutting off all power. Whilst selectively disconnecting supplies to certain uses. For instance, the system might prioritise vital communications and healthcare-related energy expenditures. Cutting power to superfluous uses or to appliances such as fridges and freezers. Of course which can get by with the odd short term power outage.
Another huge advantage to local power production is the optimisation of heat energy. Large power plants tend to create a great deal of unused heat. In fact, between 60 and 80 percent of a typical power plant’s energy consumption never becomes electricity. However, energy could be used to heat water on a local level or regional use.
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