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Can microgrids really bring power to the last billion?

By Quartz

Microgrids can keep the lights on and bring electricity to the last billion people without power. If they could only turn a profitRead full story

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  • Microgrid and off grid electric power is not new technology. It is used every day by truckers campers and boaters.

    Many of the appliances ( including pc's) they use run on 12 volts dc, not as fast as 110 but they work .

    By changing the end user profiles ; which is a challenge micropower can be used

    Microgrid and off grid electric power is not new technology. It is used every day by truckers campers and boaters.

    Many of the appliances ( including pc's) they use run on 12 volts dc, not as fast as 110 but they work .

    By changing the end user profiles ; which is a challenge micropower can be used in any locale where the use of 110 or 220 volt is not necessarily.

    In many communities cooking is still done with charcoal and propane and a/c isn't used so almost all needs could be met with 12 volt.

    Not a perfect solution but one that works and it works not because it is imposed from above but because end users are doing it for themselves.

  • To John's point, microgrids have been around for decades, they are used fairly extensively in California and also have been used by the US military as well as large corporations. The biggest challenge of microgrids adoption and implementation have been a combination of regulatory issues (obvious) and

    To John's point, microgrids have been around for decades, they are used fairly extensively in California and also have been used by the US military as well as large corporations. The biggest challenge of microgrids adoption and implementation have been a combination of regulatory issues (obvious) and also connectivity. Connectivity is a major challenge because without connectivity it is very difficult to optimize a micro grid to its fullest potential. It becomes a matter of being an insular tiny backup generator versus being able to make a material difference in terms of reliability, stability and economics. Once a microgrid is connected, it is able to interact with the utilities grid and therefore becomes part of the quality of service and also involved in the pricing against volatility. Not much different from running hot zones of Wi-Fi or correspondent banking. The connectivity allows for efficiencies and reduced pricing as well as demand responses, etc which allows for arbitrage and commerciality.

  • Accompanying this concept is EMerge alliance - a consortium of dozens of companies working to establish “rapid adoption of safe DC power distribution” in commercial buildings through microgrids. https://www.emergealliance.org/About/OurMembers.aspx

  • Brilliant piece.

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