Managing the effect of intermittent renewables on the grid is one of the critical challenges we address in making the transition to renewables. One of the primary goals of grid modernization (aka “Smart Grid”) is to adapt grid management to account for the effects of intermittency in real time.
>Microgrids are one possible solution to these challenges. Microgrids, part of the Smart Grid toolbox, are autonomously managed and powered sections of the distribution grid that can be as small as a single building, or as large as a downtown area or neighborhood. Automation and digital communications are used to manage rooftop solar, small scale combined heat and power systems and storage systems, along with matching supply to demand. Heating or cooling may also be a part of a microgrid. Microgrids can efficiently manage smaller sections of the grid, according to the local demand patterns and availability of renewable resources. They can also disconnect, or “island” from the larger grid to provide higher reliability.
Can microgrids reduce complexity and increase options for electricity market participants? What are the major barriers to microgrid implementation, and how might they be overcome? Are there other approaches, besides the microgrid, that might be employed as well?<
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