Smart Microgrids: How Small Towns Supply Power April 17, 2020
Smart microgrids have been popping up in small towns across the country. While traditional methods in the past revolved around short-term ideas, this new way will help alleviate small-town energy troubles.
Take, for instance, the small town of Isle au Haut located 7-mile off the coast of Maine. It’s year-round populace currently stands at 70 residents. In the summer, the total reaches upwards of 300. This is as small as small can be without becoming a “village”.
The Isle and its residence decided to put in a power line in order to generate energy for houses on the Isle. The line was established in 1983 and was expected to last 20 years. This means that it should have been replaced by 2003- 17 years ago. The town has since been acting to repair the corroding line but has run into many problems along the way.
Switching To Smart Microgrids
When looking at the cost of installing a new power line vs the cost of installing a smart microgrid, the price was definitely in favor of newer and sustainable energy.
The town took a look at every possible solution. From solar and wind to water and heat. These were all solutions that would benefit the small town.
What Is A Microgrid?
The concept has been around for a long time. Much longer than the advent of solar and wind technologies. By definition, if you were to use a small generator to power your house during a snowstorm, you are utilizing a microgrid.
For towns such as Isle au Haut, they have completely developed a smart microgird utilizing various natural resources. Wind and and solar are their largest source of energy.
Another major addition to their system is the use of self learning algorithms. This will help adjust energy on its own. This is the main difference between a traditional microgrid and a “smart” microgrid.
Benefits For The Future
The tiny island off the coast of Maine isn’t the only area looking to switch to renewable energy. In larger more environmentally conscious states like California, the process has gone full blown. The state is expected to become fully solar by the end of 2045.
Utilizing these methods takes away the need to rely on expensive energy monopolies. If consumers want more than what the state provides, they are allowed to add onto their plan.