Independent, local, sustainable and resilient power supply is useful for all sorts of reasons – not least peace of mind. That is why microgrids work especially well in critical scenarios, such as hospitals and defense organizations, which need instant energy backup. They are also good for university or corporate campuses, housing associations or residential developments, science parks or commercial centers – in fact, pretty much anywhere with a community of people who need energy self-sufficiency.
Entering the mainstream
Microgrids are now entering the mainstream. It is, in part, a consequence of greater affordability, as the technology improves. But, what makes them really relevant right now is their game-changing potential in the emerging distributed energy ecosystem.
The EY countdown clock identifies three major and transformative tipping points in the energy transformation. Each is changing the nature of energy supply and demand as we currently know it:
- Distributed energy resources (DERs), such as rooftop solar and wind, become equal to or cheaper than taking energy from the main grid. This means even greater consumer take-up and more DERs integrating into local networks.
- Electric vehicles (EVs) reach price and performance parity with combustion engines. The load on local networks increases as drivers charge their vehicles as and when they choose. It is becoming more critical to balance the network given variable and unpredictable surges in demand.
- Storing and distributing energy locally becomes cheaper than transporting it over networks.
Microgrids can unite these solar, storage and EV technologies to improve the quality, reliability and resilience of power networks, while reducing overall costs. With such huge and transformative potential, microgrids are becoming very difficult to ignore.