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Microgrids are scaled-down electricity distribution systems that can provide power to military bases, homes, municipalities, university campuses, and office parks.
A recent Bloomberg article explains that while there are not a lot of microgrids yet, it is likely that they will soon become more prevalent. The University of California at San Diego runs 13.5 MWs of gas turbines, a 3 MW steam turbine, and a 1.2 MW solar array. Together, the resources deliver about 80 percent of the power consumed annually. The U.S. department of Defense is an early adopter, and has helped give North America a jumpstart in microgrid development, with 69 percent of the world’s capacity.
As distributed generation (i.e. solar) costs continue to come down, microgrids will become more widespread. In addition to protection from blackouts, microgrids can pull areas off the main grid when demand peaks and costs skyrocket.
Furthermore, when demands (and prices) are low from the main grid, microgrids can buy and store power to sell back later. If microgrids were not already on your radar, perhaps they should be.
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