Microgrids: Efficient, Secure, Resilient

February 9, 2012

A number of institutions across the country, including many military bases, are looking at insuring reliable, resilient and efficient electricity production in the age of peak oil and terrorism.  Above, a Sandia Lab video describes the concept.

This technology is being pioneered, like transistors, computers, microchips, jet engines, global positioning, the internet, and now renewable energy,  by the military, as a template for future wide civilian deployment.

Below, The University of California at San Diego demonstrates a working example.

Rocky Mountain Institute:

Rocky Mountain Institute visited the University of California, San Diego to study and document the “microgrid” that controls and integrates electricity supply and demand on the campus. UCSD’s microgrid is one of the best examples of an electricity network that provides local control yet is interconnected with the larger electricity grid.

At UCSD, the microgrid provides the ability to manage 42 megawatts of generating capacity, including a central cogeneration plant, an array of solar photovoltaic installations and a fuel cell that operates on natural gas reclaimed from a landfill site. The central microgrid control allows operators to manage the diverse portfolio of energy generation and storage resources on the campus to minimize costs. In addition, the campus can “island” from the larger grid to maintain power supply in an emergency, as in the case of the power blackout that struck parts of Southern California, Arizona and Mexico in September 2011.

The microgrid at UCSD provides a living laboratory to experiment with integration and management of local resources and to optimize the use of these resources in interaction with market signals from the larger grid.


3 Responses to “Microgrids: Efficient, Secure, Resilient”

  1. guylacrosse Says:

    Imagine if the people who got rich off coal would invest in this type of thing instead of a disinformation campaign.

  2. Who do you think is ‘releasing’ this technology to the public now? Those same coal & oil barons who secretly bought it up back in the 70’s when it was first conceived and have been sitting on it until now, when the cabal deems it necessary (and profitable) to let the public have access to it.

    Of course, I’m joking…(and I’m only saying that so that I don’t get silenced)…I’m joking about that too…really…

  3. otter17 Says:

    Ah, neat. I studied a bit of micro-grid concepts and issues back in engineering grad school.

    From some of the expert researchers I talked to, there are some issues with distributed sources on a micro-grid concept like this, but they mostly revolve around effective communication with the individual sources and the utility SCADA system. I’m not sure how the research has progressed in the past few years, but it seems promising that Sandia has some ideas and UC San Diego has a working model.

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