Design and planning of renewable microgrids

FuturENERGY September-October 2020

Recent years have seen significant reductions in the costs of solar PV technologies and battery storage, mainly due to major investments in technical improvements and economies of scale as regards manufacturing. In addition, the modularity of the components, PV modules and electrochemical cells mean that the size of the installation no longer conditions its specific cost overmuch. By adding the ongoing development of communications and control to this trend (such as the current boom in IoT), which is able to control increasingly more complex, sensitive and compact systems remotely and in real time, the paradigm change taking place in the energy sector can be fully appreciated. Today’s current centralised system is opening up to distributed generation and multiple grid configurations capable of operating independently and off-grid. Norvento has already spent several years developing and implementing renewable microgrids.

For Norvento Enerxía, a modern microgrid is a reduced-size grid, when compared to the national grid, that integrates electricity production, management and supply. It covers demand mainly through renewable generation and can operate whether connected or not to the mains grid, providing reliable, quality power.

There are many reasons for promoting this type of solution, for example: the high costs of extending the existing power grid; the risks of interruption to the service, inherent to its centralised and far-reaching configuration, both in emerging and developed markets; the lack of reliability or availability of the grid in many parts of the world; the need for reliable and high quality power for specific applications; and the desire of users to achieve energy independence or to reduce their carbon footprint.