Microgrids are power generation systems that are built around the power requirement and or resilience needs of a power consumer(s).
Microgrids, although not constrained by size, are generally designed and implemented to serve local power needs and therefore tend to be distributed, self-contained, power systems that may or may not be connected to a wider microgrid cluster and or the national grid.
Microgrids, depending on specific objectives and availability of local resources, are powered by a variety of power generation types and often combine coordinate and control renewable energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaics (PV); with high efficiency gas engines and combined heat and power (CHP) systems, that can be fuelled by pipeline gas or renewable gas.
Energy storage systems are often incorporated to maximise the effectiveness of the renewables, to improve resilience or simply add ‘synthetic inertia’ and stability to a microgrid.
Microgrids are designed and constructed to be either self-sufficient or to be supported and or support the wider power grid system.
Microgrid operating modes
Island mode microgrids are isolated from other power generation networks and may supply a single facility or multiple users. They are self sufficient for power production but cannot supply surplus energy and at times of deficiency cannot take electricity from the grid. These systems may be found in remote areas, in areas where the local electricity network is highly unstable or in places where self-sufficiency of power is essential.
Grid connected microgrids are directly connected to the local electricity distribution network. They have the benefit of potential self-sufficiency for power but can also take electricity from or supply electricity back to the local power network.
One potential challenge of grid connected microgrids is that if there is a failure within the wider power network, the local microgrid may also fail. To negate this risk, additional considerations can be made to the scheme to facilitate automatic change over to island operation and load shedding to ensure connected loads do not exceed the microgrid generating capabilities.
Grid connected with Island Mode (“Islandable”)
Certain microgrids whilst normally operating in parallel with the local network, can disconnect the grid incoming supply and provide the necessary power infrastructure independent of the network. To do this, you require power generation sources that can operate independently from the grid such as a gas engine capable of running on island mode. There may be the need to add black start capability which means the engine can start the microgrid without the presence of an external power source such as the electricity grid.
Clarke Energy microgrid capabilities
Clarke Energy can provide and ‘microgrid’ / hybrid power generation solutions, comprising gas engines, renewable technologies and energy storage technologies, standalone solutions, turnkey power generation solutions incorporating different types of power generation and storage. We can provide an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) solutions, backed up by long-term maintenance support for our customers. See also our hybrid solutions page.
Contact your local Clarke Energy office for more information.