Micro-grids, it is something that is seen more and more on the internet these days. But why is it that Micro-grids present a possible solution to our ever expanding need for energy vs the limits of our current Power Grid. To see why it can be a possible solution in the near future, we must first take a look at the present.
Our current Power Grid
The current grid is made up to provide a large amount of power from a number of centralised sources and transport it over a long distance to smaller substations, which in turn distribute it to local grids. The problem here is that this infrastructure has been around for decades and isn't always up to the task of transporting all the required power or supplying the massive need for power. Ever since a few years the possibility of artificial black-outs is a reality. Especially in the winter times.
Even adding renewable sources to our current infrastructure can be a problem. Often the cables have to be renewed into bigger sections to cope with the power flow or voltage drop. This can be a costly investment, often rivalling that of the installation of the renewable source itself.
A Micro-grid is in our opinion one of the solutions to the energy distribution and storage issues. An entire neighbourhood is placed on a hybrid power-grid. A local DC grid and the traditional AC grid. Why both? We'll explain in a moment. First the components needed.
To make a successful micro-grid, you need intelligent controllers. The power generated locally needs to used in a smart manner. Secondly, you need batteries. In a residential area, the time a solar array is producing power is usually the time people are at work, school, etc... Lastly, you need power sources. Wingardium-Energy believes in the set-up of solar panels on the roofs of residential buildings and a few VAWT for local wind energy production.
There should also be a good hierarchy in the system. First off both residential panels and the local VAWT's will be sending their generated power into a battery system. The PV system feeds a set of home batteries in their respective residence, while also feeding the demand at the time. The VAWT feeds into a neighbourhood battery system. Any surplus will be send on the grid to help feed the home batteries. Then when the time comes to use the stored power, first the renewables will be tapped in. Homes will start using their stored battery power and the stored power in the NBS. Once all of these sources are depleted, the AC power grid
The AC power grid will keep an important part in the system. Centralised power plants and off-shore and on-shore windmill parks will be needed to feed industry and to provide a supplemental power source to the micro-grid neighbourhoods. Because there will always be a few days or weeks in a year that there is very little sunshine and little to no wind.