MicroGrids can light the way for UK’s low carbon transition, said Professor Philip Taylor, Director of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability (NIReS) at a public lecture in London on 20 March 2014.
Hosted by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, this lecture titled ‘MicroGrids: Niche Application or Fundamental to Future Energy Systems?’ covered the key issues concerning MicroGrids, providing some technical detail on how they can be realised.
The following is based on his lecture:
UK’s energy sector will face challenging times in the future, in a number of areas including affordability, sustainability, security, decarbonisation of electrical networks, ageing assets and severe weather events. And reinforcing the MacroGrid is not a practical option.
On the other hand, MicroGrids have much potential, including increased resilience, reduced control burden on the MacroGrid, community involvement, reduced reliance on centralised plant and a learn-and-scale-up model. Besides, when a large number of MicroGrids are aggregated together, they would resemble a virtual power station.
Currently, microgrids are mainly operating in a couple of niche areas, such as islands, universities, military and demonstration models. A significant step forward in moving out of these niche areas is breaking their
conventional static boundaries. An emerging solution based on a biologically-inspired novel concept is the autonomic MicroGrid, which has flexible boundaries.
There are technical challenges to overcome but the future for microgrids looks promising and they have the potential to light the way for UK’s low carbon transition.
Photograph by Asitha Jayawardena; Image created using the logos of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, Newcastle University and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Professor Philip Taylorhttp://www.ncl.ac.uk/sustainability/staff/profile/phil.taylor | twitter @rolyatlihp
Knowledge page on the Institution of Mechanical Engineers http://www.imeche.org/knowledge
Distributed generation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_generation
How a Microgrid Works http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/microgrid.htm
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