21 Aug 2014
86° Drizzle
Patch Instagram photo by patch

Getting Back to the Micro Grid

Hyperlocal power grids may be the future of energy.

Getting Back to the Micro Grid

Like most people in this world, I hate to backtrack.

I believe at the core of this aversion is our desire to be accurate.   Backtracking represents a misstep, defeat, and as my son says, an epic fail.

Backtracking can be very helpful at times, though. For instance,  backtracking is very useful when one finds a dead end at the termination of a  one-way street.  Walking in a blizzard is another situation where backtracking comes in handy.

Backtracking is on my mind because I firmly believe that we as a nation are going to have to go back to successfully find energy stability.  I think it is time to start back tracking to our original electric grid, the micro grid.

Micro grids are small electric grids that are built to sustain the power requirements of a specific area.  Universities, small towns and military bases are early re-adopters of this concept.

I classify them as re-adopters because before our expansive electric grid made us the envy of the world, our towns and cities were independent of one another.  A town would generate power from local sources & use it locally.

The modern-day micro grids are becoming more appealing because our larger electric grid is becoming overloaded and our always-on power is becoming less and less reliable as it ages and our power requirements grow.

You can imagine how important these micro grids are for military bases.  A catastrophic event could knock power out very easily.  Bases equipped with micro-grids could continue operations in total, not just the few buildings that got the funding to have generators.

Imagine a small town like Purcelville, VA, having the ability to power the homes of its residents using power generated by wind turbines affixed to each home, solar panels mounted to schools and municipal buildings, a bank of generators with storage of natural gas to burn, and many other technologies to generate and store power.

Though and other unique power-generation tools, my favorite has to be the biofuel route.  Biofuel plants can turn almost anything into a fuel.  I have to believe that spending our tax dollars on building bio-fuel plants is an excellent idea and one that needs to happen sooner, rather than later.

The future of sustainable community micro grids may be new on technology, but the idea of micro grids is an old concept whose time has come.

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