The Multi-Technology Future of Microgrids
Source/Author : David Jones
Read Article : https://bit.ly/2HxFeDE
Published at : 24th January 2019
While planned solar capacity is increasing rapidly, future microgrids will use a combination of technology resources working together to maximize benefits.
In our first microgrid blog, ICF used our new database to identify four trends that are expected to drive the future of microgrid development. The biggest takeaway from the blog post, as highlighted in articles from Microgrid Knowledge and Clean Technica, was the large amount of planned solar PV capacity in microgrids. This was especially striking when compared to planned installations for combined heat and power (CHP), the traditionally dominant microgrid technology. As technologies advance and the market matures, microgrids will increasingly utilize a mix of distributed energy resources (DERs), including PV and energy storage, optimized for the needs of end-users and electric utilities.
CHP provides an efficient and resilient anchor for microgrids, but planned capacity for CHP in microgrids is falling behind solar, and even non-CHP natural gas generators. As can be seen in the chart below, CHP accounts for 3 times the capacity of solar PV in operational microgrids, while it only accounts for half of PV’s planned capacity. Non-CHP natural gas generators—those that do not incorporate heat recovery—have also taken the lead over CHP in planned microgrids. In this blog we explore the factors driving these trends, and what they could mean for the future of microgrids.