Microgrids typically consist of a number of different power generation technology types and draw upon the benefits of renewable energies, storage technologies and gas or diesel engines. The combination and synchronisation of different types of power generation technology can be referred to as ‘hybrid power generation’
Microgrids provide power resilience and can supply both electricity and heat to local users. Drivers to develop microgrids can be many including poor local electricity networks, weather challenges causing network disruption or local incentives to reduce peak demands and generate higher levels of renewable energy.
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.
Microgrids can also support variable thermal loads using flexible CHP, heat pumps, heat pumps and heating, ventilation and cooling systems (HVACs).
- Flexible CHP design and supply, supply install
- Microgrid / hybrid design, supply, install
- Aftersales support / maintenance
Clarke Energy can provide a flexible gas engine in support of a microgrid, or design and develop a full solution incorporating energy storage, advanced control and optimisation systems such as the Heila Edge platform. We are able to deliver full engineering, procurement and construction solutions within the scope of the power system and back this up with long-term maintenance support for our customers.
- Develop custom engineered solutions for customers
- Reduce risk by acting as a single point of contact
- Long term aftersales support maximising equipment up-time
The Heila EDGE platform gives system owners and operators user-intuitive controls to optimize microgrid deployment and operations. The decentralized and modular design solves the mismatch between traditionally centralized controllers and interoperability between DER assets, providing an all-in-one solution for scaling microgrids as needs evolve. As part of Kohler Energy, Heila has embedded the EDGE across diverse industries and sectors, from large manufacturing plants, to a local vineyard, to a US military base, enabling:
- Optimized utilization of on-site DERs and microgrids
- Maximized market participation uptime
- Reduced costs and increased resiliency
- Flexible and scalable distributed energy systems
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.
Microgrid News and Case Studies
The microgrid will incorporate Jenbacher engines and microgrid controller, existing solar power and back up engines and will be grid connected.
Microgrid system solution designed, engineered and installed by Clarke Energy for recreation center in Connecticut, USA
The hybrid power plant will be built at Kohler’s Reggio Emilia site, a global hub for engine production.