Microgrid Technology Is Poised To Go Green as It Goes Mainstream
Wildfires in California. Hurricanes along the Eastern coastline. Tornadoes in the Midwest. Civil unrest in the streets. If anything, 2020 is sending clear indications that the power grid isn’t as safe and secure as our communities require. While microgrid technology isn’t new, it has yet to be adopted on a large scale. The costs of setting up and the perceived reliability of the power grid made it an investment that many businesses and communities didn’t want to invest in. However, that’s changed over the past year as more and more communities eye microgrid technology as a valuable hedge against whatever tomorrow’s headlines might bring.
Government Goes Green While Looking Toward the Future
Microgrids are nothing new to the US Department of Defense (DoD). For decades, US military installations have been built to be energy self-sufficient for short periods of time. This has long included batteries and diesel generators to supply each individual base’s needs. What has changed is that the DoD is now looking to innovate this arrangement by incorporating renewable energy solutions into the equation. This includes wind, solar, agrivoltaics, and regenerative agriculture. Over the next year, the DoD will work with the US Department of Energy and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to install battery storage systems at four rural locations in Colorado, South Dakota, and North Carolina. The goal of the project is to determine whether it’s feasible to apply similar solutions to the 56% of communities in America served by rural electric cooperatives. These are considerably vulnerable to power outages and disruptions. By establishing microgrids capable of effectively storing power generated by renewable sources, these communities could enjoy considerably greater energy independence.
Poudre Valley REA Leading the Way
Poudre Valley REA in Colorado has established a goal of generating 80% of its power needs from renewable sources by 2030. Energy storage and the incorporation of microgrid technology are the cornerstones of these plans. And, other energy providers across the country are watching closely to see where Poudre Valley REA succeeds, and where their model can be adapted for adoption across the country.
What is clear at this point is that there won’t be a one size fits all solution. Some communities will enjoy greater benefits through the use of wind and solar, while others will have more advantages using tidal and hydroelectric sources as the foundation for their microgrids. Other players in the market include Tideland EMC in North Carolina and the West River Electric Association in South Dakota. Both are working with Poudre Valley REA to share knowledge and adopt best practices that can be copied and implemented across the country over the coming decade.
For more information about microgrid technology, contact Gen-Tech Power Generation Specialists at (800) 625-8324. It is our pleasure to tell you more about the advancements taking place within the industry and the ways your business can take part in these exciting developments aimed at boosting energy self-sufficiency throughout the country.