These applications have a wide range of uses cases e.g. reducing grid infrastructure costs and UoS charges, supplying remote areas, access trading in a range of electricity markets, improving supply security and resilience and addressing the need for alternative national black start strategies. While use cases can overlap in some applications, the use case deemed common to all these applications is displacing or replacing traditional carbon intense sources of electricity generation such as diesel or oil fuelled generation with clean low carbon sources.
While diesel and oil fuelled generation has been the traditional source of electricity for off grid communities and industrial complexes, island communities and traditional standby supplies, the economic, political and environmental policy drivers continue to develop along with public pressures to influence their displacement with clean low carbon energy sources. Many of the microgrid examples (SGS projects and third-party projects) in my earlier blogs have used RES such as solar, wind and hydro for purely economic reasons e.g. DeGrussa Mine in Western Australia (solar PV), the island of Aruba in the Caribbean (wind and PV) and the Scottish Island of Eigg local community energy scheme (wind, solar PV and hydro), all from blog 2. Other microgrid application examples have been driven by government and local authority policy on the clean energy transition to reduce carbon emissions e.g. Lac-Mégantic in Canada and the UK city local authority, both in blog 6.
Business cases will continue to drive the uptake of microgrid propositions in terms of both cost savings and new revenue opportunities. Where there is a suitable existing grid connection, future electricity markets will present microgrid operators the opportunity to generate revenues from services such as flexible demand and generation, wholesale market power export, balancing services, black start and resilience services. This is particularly true for microgrids with BESS assets which can stack revenues across a range of markets and services including fast frequency response in addition to other services mentioned already.
There are a number of new use cases that I see developing relating to the real time monitoring of carbon intensity within the microgrid supply. These include:
As a data input to other electricity networks supplied from the microgrid e.g. fleet electric vehicle (EV) charging systems.
As an input to BESS based energy arbitrage as an additional controlling factor along with wholesale market price data.
To influence customer behaviour to minimise carbon use.
To track carbon intensity reduction over time within the microgrid.
Clean energy assets are already becoming the technologies of choice in microgrids, and it appears that the logical next steps include the management of carbon in a more granular way.
SGS is committed to working with customers and investing in the development of our software products to meet new emerging use cases for customer microgrid solutions and the resulting customer and societal benefits.