As we near the end of the year, it’s important to review, reflect, and think about the future and what it holds. When USA Microgrids started in 2015, many were unsure of microgrids and questioned their presence and potential. We saw the tremendous opportunity in microgrids to provide a variety of services to the grid, and more importantly, provide large power users the ability to take full control of their energy generation and supply. With this in mind, our approach to microgrid development revolved around the creation of a scalable and comprehensive turnkey solution.
We are convinced microgrids will expand as utilities grow more comfortable with their presence. With more utilities embracing microgrids and adopting them for grid services, the place of microgrids within the energy industry will grow exponentially, making them a fundamental cornerstone in the energy industry.
Let me explain why.
For over 130 years the electric grid has been dominated by AC systems, a transmission/distribution system. Much of the physical generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure and operation have remained the same. This has begun to change in the last 30 years with the arrival of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), smaller power sources (like solar, EV chargers, wind, etc.) that can be combined to provide the power necessary to meet regular demand. In addition, the current electricity system is facing a number of obstacles: aging infrastructures requiring major upgrades, regulatory and environmental barriers for new generation and transmission systems, limited situational awareness and automation on distribution grids, and an already congested power system. Given these issues, the push for renewable DERs and other driving forces within the energy industry, the existing energy business model is transforming from that of transmission/distribution systems to distribution-centric systems.
With this transformation, the power grid will include numerous, small DERs and other smart assets to support energy needs. With so many different power sources, the grid will have to be highly interactive and automated with customer interaction. Significant re-designing, re-engineering, and innovation will be necessary to ensure the new grid’s reliability, economic practicality, and security. Given these approaching changes, we must consider how the new grid will be achieved.
Finding a solution that benefits both end-use customers and cooperatives is the next step in the evolution of this new grid, and microgrids are part of that answer. Microgrids must provide a reliable, resilient, efficient, and environmentally-minded electrical system. The abilities of a microgrid to perform with different settings to meet multiple objectives (maintain critical power functions, reduce carbon footprint, etc.), while optimizing those processes, present numerous opportunities.
For example, microgrids can integrate with utilities to form programs that provide incentives and revenue, provide efficient means for Demand Responses (DRs), and integrate DERs. In doing so, cooperatives can provide their commercial and industrial (C&I) customers (data centers, hospitals, manufacturing plants, etc.) with greener and more affordable sources of power. At the same time, those utilities will benefit from locally sited microgrids as dispatchable assets for peak shaving and to increase reliability and resiliency for the distribution network. In the face of natural disasters, the implementation of microgrids and DERs can provide power for their customers even when some resources are unavailable.
Microgrids will play a key role in the new energy industry. USA Microgrid’s next-generation technology, extensive engineering experience, and best-in-class providers of microgrid design services and equipment offers a full microgrid development and operations platform. These services range from feasibility studies to planning, designing, building, owning, operating, and maintaining a microgrid (DBOOM) and allow the development and ownership of a microgrid to be a hassle-free process.
Our mission is to address the needs of facility owners looking for a more reliable electricity supply and stable energy prices by delivering a turnkey microgrid system. We accomplish this with OATI GridMind, a microgrid automated control and management system. This advanced solution provides the interconnection and integration capabilities, as well as the automation control, needed to intelligently manage all the on-site resources for reliable, resilient, and cost-effective power.
Our experiences in building a microgrid for our sister company, OATI, have helped us to better design systems and solutions for all C&I customers looking to achieve diverse business goals with the development of a microgrid.
With full investment in the future of microgrids, USA Microgrids provides the cutting-edge services and technologies needed to support the development of microgrids. We understand the business of microgrids, and we will continue to serve and provide our customers with the resources they need to make informed business decisions.