Información sectorial

Macrogrids Or Microgrids: Which Is The Key To The Renewable Energy Revolution?

There is a lot of discussion about whether macrogrids or microgrids will be the key to the renewable energy revolution. Some argue we need a vast array of high voltage transmission lines to carry electricity from solar farms on a sunny afternoon in Arizona to meet the needs of New Yorkers coming home after dark following a long day at the office. Others maintain local microgrids are better because they avoid the rather frightening expense of building more transcontinental transmission lines.

The issue, of course, is time shifting. The demand for electricity tends to ramp up just when production from most solar power plants is decreasing. Traditionally, utility companies have fired up so-called peaker plants in the late afternoon to handle the surge in demand, but bringing those facilities online is expensive and comes with a big increase in carbon emissions. However, renewables can’t be turned on and off to suit the needs of utility companies. We need new strategies to maximize how most of the renewable energy available gets put to good use.