For the future of humanity to survive, there is a need for a climate that will foster life. This means that we need to do something to stop global warming and climate change and the only feasible way to stop and even reverse the process is to stop our dependence on fossil fuel. For us to accomplish this, we will need to create a lot more carbon-free power. We also need to connect this green energy to all of our energy uses especially the transportation sector.
Things are looking good so far as the world in general has been made aware of carbon emission problems. In fact, the ozone layer is healing according to NASA and this is great news. This means that the current movement towards renewable energy is slowly taking effect. However, for this to become a permanent change, we need to ramp up on our efforts.
The Looming Problem
We all need a renewable grid but that is not the only problem. Today’s modern society is very much dependent on computers and their ability to connect to the internet. This means that we need a power grid that is reliable and always on so that these systems can always connect. At this point, power outages can literally cost lives as our hospitals and security systems all rely on electricity.
The most common renewable sources of energy that we have at our disposal are wind and solar energy. Unfortunately, solar energy is not generated at night, and wind sources come and go with the weather. These are literary at Mother Nature’s whim so it is up to us to play along with the fluctuating output of energy. However, as the recent hurricanes have proven, blackouts can still happen when the weather takes a turn for the extreme. These recent power outages show that we also need a sturdier power grid that can withstand the forces of nature or at least be easy to repair so that they can be up and running immediately.
All of these factors combined means that this is actually a three-fold problem as we need a green, reliable, and sturdy power grid. Surprisingly, the solution to this seemingly herculean task is the small and unassuming microgrid.
What is the Microgrid?
The microgrid is literally just a small power grid. All a grid really needs is a power source, users, a connection, and some way to control the flow of power. These microgrids are small areas that are independent when it comes to electricity and do not need to connect to any larger grids to function.
While most microgrids are still connected to the area’s main power grid, they have a switch that enables them to function on their own and isolate them from the larger grid. This means that in case of a blackout in the main grid, they can simply isolate themselves and keep their power running.
With that system in mind, a series of interconnected microgrids that all rely on renewable energy will be able to distribute power evenly throughout the entire grid but can isolate themselves to be self-sustaining when the need arises. Right now, most microgrids are literally small, one building set-ups that use diesel fuel such as a gas-powered generator inside hospitals. However, with enough technological advancements, the idea of an aggregated microgrid isn’t too far off.