When you’re preparing for an interview in the energy industry, you need to be ready to talk about microgrids. The renewable energy industry has seen substantial growth in recent years, but there is some hesitation from utilities to rely entirely on technologies such as solar and wind power for one important reason – reliability. Microgrids are the logical solution to this issue. Here’s what you need to know about them to respond intelligently and strike up a valuable conversation on the matter with your interviewer.
What Are Microgrids?
Microgrids are local energy grids that can operate either autonomously or while connected to a larger traditional grid. They provide energy independence, efficiency, and protection during emergencies. Using the machine learning capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) with microgrid controllers allows for continuous adaptation and improvement of operation.
Added Resiliency and Security
The role that solar photovoltaics could play is important because as the technical community calls for added resiliency for the protection of the power grid through distributed energy sources and microgrids, solar power is a great solution.
Solar photovoltaic-powered microgrid systems are currently being used to fortify the power grids of domestic military bases as the energy independence adds resiliency and security to the grid, but it also helps support local communities. The U.S. military has implemented such renewable energy plans, with 25 percent of energy production slated to be generated by renewable sources by 2025. While the U.S. military has a renewable energy policy, the country still has a lot of ground to cover. But if we recognize that the capacity to shore up our national power grid is there, solar photovoltaics can be seen as more than just a benefit for our environment, but a technology needed to create energy resilience as a matter of national security.
How Microgrids Fit in
Deployment of microgrids is becoming significantly quicker, with new software allowing for designs to be completed in a single day. San Diego tech company XENDEE is rolling out an advanced toolkit for microgrid design in partnership with the WorleyParsons Group to make available turnkey solutions in up to a 90 percent less time and cost than conventional methods.
From California to the Pacific Islands, microgrids are taking center-stage. Palau is a Pacific island nation and the 13th smallest country in the world, but has committed to building what would be the world’s largest microgrid – 35MW of solar panels paired with 45 megawatt-hours of energy storage. This effort is part of the nation’s goal to transition to 70 percent renewable energy by 2050, recognizing that islands are on the front lines of experiencing the effects of climate change and stand as ground zero for the global energy transition.
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