Microgrids using renewable energy represent a growing trend. The advantage of these systems is that they can be operated with or without a connection to the grid and they ensure that generation and consumption remain balanced. They are ideal for supplying power in remote areas, but also open up attractive opportunities for industrial enterprises or city neighborhoods. They are based on decentralized energy generators such as photovoltaics and wind power, combined with storage and an intelligent control system.
Microgrids and local energy generation and consumption open up a range of possibilities – for example, commercial and industrial enterprises can reduce their dependence on trans-regional grids while also cutting costs and emissions. Virtual communities are exploring new solutions for offering renewable energy to private and commercial customers. And digital platforms are emerging which use blockchain technology to combine the efforts of decentralized plants.
In Wildpoldsried in Bavaria, the regional utility Allgäuer Überlandwerk is demonstrating how a microgrid can support a secure and stable supply in the trans-regional grid. The utility disconnected part of the low-voltage grid from the rest of the public grid, de-energized it and then brought it back online, powered entirely by renewable generating installations and storage devices. As a next step, the company plans to use its Allgäu Microgrid to build up a local peer-to-peer electricity trading platform – which, among other things, will allow it to offer private operators of photovoltaic installations an alternative marketing avenue.