6uwu8KfUTSHc6sHH8HJkCPgZV4w Digital City Briefs - 30 Global Cities: Can a small electric grid function when the main grid fails?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Can a small electric grid function when the main grid fails?

With Hurricane Sandy fresh in the minds of many Americans, and other recent storms in the past few years, blackouts are becoming a familiar experience. “In 2011, more than 3,000 outages in the U.S. affected 41.8 million people, according to the Eaton Corp., which tracks blackouts. That’s up from 2,169 power outages that affected 25 million people in 2008.”

A panel of experts in Connecticut suggests a micro grid as a way to combat blackouts. “A microgrid is essentially a small electric grid with its own generation source, such as fuel cells, wind, solar or other energy sources.” When power goes out, critical facilities such as hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies can remain open. The U.S. Department of Energy is currently spending $55 million to support eight microgrid projects, while there are already 270 micro grids worldwide.

Because they generally rely on cleaner energy sources, microgrids are more environmentally friendly than big power grids. And since they’re located near the point of demand, the electricity doesn’t have to travel as far, so less power is lost in transmission and distribution.

Reference: Daigneau, Elizabeth, Microgrid Technology Faces Its 1st Big Test, Governing, November 2012. 

Other Recent Posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment