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).
The Heila Edge® Platform
The Heila Edge platform is a modular energy platform that makes it easy to connect and optimize solar arrays, batteries and other distributed energy resources. The platform leverages emergent intelligence to coordinate power assets and build self-managing microgrids and fleets from the ground up.
The Heila Edge platform’s three key components
- Our hardware acts as a protocol gateway, aggregator, and distributed controller, creating a seamless experience for installers and developers.
- Our software provides on-premise and remote data access and also enables users to optimize and automate their operations for any value stack.
- Our technology-agnostic operating model allows manufacturers, utilities, and developers to avoid vendor lock-in and scale energy systems quickly using the assets of their choosing.
- 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
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
Clarke Energy supplying our most complex microgrid yet at as the company grows to become a full distributed energy solutions business.
Clarke Energy, A Kohler Company is pleased to be gold sponsors of the Microgrid 2022 conference alongside our sister company Heila Technologies.
Heila will become part of Kohler’s Power Group – a global leader in engines, power generation and clean energy.