Microgrids are small, community-focused electricity generating facilities. In normal times, they generate power for their area using solar, wind, gas turbines, or batteries. Excess power is sold into the grid. However, during a general power outage, they go into islanded mode, providing power immediately, with no human intervention needed. As the video shows, this can happen in as little as 15 seconds.
Stable power during blackouts is crucial for first responders during emergencies. Residential users will appreciate it too. An example: You live in an area with 200 homes on a microgrid and the power goes out. The microgrid responds in seconds and you have electricity again. Depending on the power source, you could have power for hours, maybe days.
From Green Energy Corp.
A microgrid is a small-scale power production and delivery system comprising distributed generation facilities co-located with the loads they serve. Microgrids encompass multiple types of energy generation resources, storage systems, and efficiency programs, allowing for optimal utilization of renewable energy resources and facilitating advanced energy management, demand response, and load reduction solutions. Microgrids are able to be connected to the utility grid to purchase power from the grid or sell power back to the grid as conditions dictate. Microgrids can be designed to operate “islanded” when the utility grid is not available.
Microgrids can be expensive to install and determining who controls what can be problematic. However, they provide resiliency, which can be priceless.
Estimates for the total cost of lost service in the U.S. fall between $30 billion and $150 billion, but estimating the value of microgrid reliability and resilience is much harder to predict, the Boston researchers found. “How does one apply a value to keeping a patient on life support? Or, how does one apply value to maintaining years of cancer research? In these situations, the value of electricity service is essentially priceless,” they wrote.