Microgrids: Distributed Energy and Resilience

Microgrids: Distributed Energy and Resilience

Over a month after Category 5 Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico causing catastrophic damage, much of the island is still without power. The storm knocked out power to almost all of the commonwealth. Homes, schools, hospitals, and other critical services and infrastructure were left without power. Even now, only a fifth of residents have power.

Microgrids may provide the means to reduce vulnerability—and improve resilience—in the wake of a changing climate and increasing risk of natural disasters.

Microgrids reach a tipping point

Microgrids reach a tipping point

Federal and local government and industry professionals discussed microgrid technologies and trends at a forum on October 19, 2017 at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). The event was cohosted by Leaders in Energy and Resilient Virginia and sponsored by EEI, eSai LLC, and Microgrid Knowledge.

The utilization of microgrids plus battery storage is increasingly seen as the wave of the future to help ensure energy reliability and security in an age of intense weather events and cybersecurity threats.

Resilience in small packages

Resilience in small packages

Cyberattacks, natural disasters, including flooding, snow and ice storms, droughts, in addition to aging infrastructure, and other factors all lead to vulnerability in a system faced with increasing demand. When one part of this complex system fails, as can happen when a storm knocks down a wire or pole, other parts are affected. Enter the microgrid—a local energy distribution system that offers backup generation if the central grid fails.

Resilient communities build confidence and economic opportunities

Building resilience in communities is an area of action in sustainability that requires broad leadership in business, policy, and planning. More strategically, resilience is an opportunity for businesses, organizations, and government to fill gaps in vulnerable areas while creating the conditions for long-term economic growth.