What is a microgrid and how does it work?

A microgrid is a system that links electrical loads and distributed generation sources. Microgrids can operate while connected to the national grid or autonomously (in so-called “island” mode).

 

Low environmental impact microgrids that integrate renewable energy generation and electricity storage systems (such as batteries) are becoming increasingly widespread thanks to:

 

  • Their benefits in terms of environmental sustainability;

 

  • The falling costs of energy storage technologies (e.g. batteries) and renewable energy generation systems (e.g. photovoltaic systems);
 
  • The development of intelligent control systems that turn microgrids into smart grids, allowing for the active management of electrical loads and stored electricity, reducing energy supply costs.

 

Microgrid energy system benefits include:

 

  • Savings on electricity costs by taking power from the grid only when it is cheaper, thanks to distributed generation and batteries to boost self-consumption;

 

  • The creation of an additional source of income by providing remunerated ancillary services to the national grid (where regulated/permitted);

 

  • The achievement of targets relating to sustainability and the reduction of polluting emissions;

 

  • Improvements in safety and resilience thanks to the option of disconnecting from the grid in case of power outages in order to safeguard the continuous supply to critical loads even during potential blackouts;

 

  • Cost optimization concerning the use of energy from the national grid, the generation of distributed sources and the charging of any storage systems, thanks to the microgrid’s own advanced management systems.  

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