How can microgrids meet your carbon goals? One of the main ways in which energy users and energy producers are now working together to defeat climate change is through the digitalization of energy networks in order to improve the integration of increasing amounts of renewable energy. This in turn also has the side-effect of generating substantial cost-reductions as clean energy technologies become cheaper.
Typically, this process involves the adoption of smart grids and microgrids in order to make energy generation and consumption much more energy efficient. The process also enables consumers to become ‘prosumers’, as they sell excess energy, generated for example by solar panels, back to the central grid and through peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading. This increasing change of behavior in our society is in turn lowering carbon emissions through a widespread change in energy consumption patterns.
How can microgrids meet your carbon goals?
Enabling renewable energy
One of the other main advantages of microgrids in this process is that they are more resilient. Given that they are individual elements in a generally decentralized energy network, they are capable of autonomous operation, meaning that they can continue to generate energy for local populations in the event of outages or general disruption to the wider national grid. By making energy use smarter, more efficient, and enabling more efficient balancing, microgrids help to enable the addition of increasing amounts of renewable energy to the grid. Increasingly, the use of electrical vehicles (EVs) as a form of energy storage, integrated into the grid through domestic and commercial EV charging infrastructure, will help to enable this process.
However, microgrids are able to assist with this transition because of their flexibility through their capacity for energy storage and load shedding and shifting. Consumers acting also as producers of energy (prosumers) can help to flatten load curves, limiting peak generation and thereby reducing carbon emissions.
Carbon reduction for utilities
For utilities, this means they do not have to involve themselves in costly grid upgrades that also add to carbon emissions. Utilities can also utilize microgrids by working with consumers and prosumers who then assume an active role in not only consumption of energy but also its production and distribution. The process also enables better optimization of existing energy generation assets, especially when demand response strategies are built into the system.
Demand response consists of various strategies that work to better match demand with supply. This is important in that it can help to balance the grid and avoid the network becoming stressed, reducing the risk of outages and further improving the ability of the network to support distributed renewable energy technologies.
A prime requirement is consumers adapting their energy consumption patterns, and consumers can be incentivized to do this through becoming more empowered in how energy is supplied to them and through other benefits, particularly when it comes to generating savings on energy bills. The installation of smart meters in businesses and homes is an important part of this process, while the utilization of microgrids in local communities can further help utilities to generate savings on carbon emissions.
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