As the global energy transformation picks up pace, all over the world, in cities and in regional areas, microgrids are increasingly being adopted to increase energy reliability.

Microgrids are not a new technology, but as locally generated renewable power has increased, these mini-grids have become a valuable and viable way for modern grids to better harness power where it is made and distribute it locally.

In essence, microgrids are a self-sufficient energy network. They can be big, as in covering a large town or a section of a network, or very small, like Stand Alone Power Systems. Power for the microgrids is typically generated through solar, wind or hydro, and typically include a battery system to store and distribute power when it is needed.

Although many will be connected to the larger network system, the identifying feature of a microgrid is that they can operate independently. If the entire network went down, the microgrid would continue supplying power to its constituents.

This means by using microgrids, power reliability and cost efficiencies are increased. Instead of power running a long way, it goes the shortest distance, making faults and outages less likely, easier and more cost effective to fix. They also allow the localised use of renewable energy like solar, so power is used near to where it is made, which stops the wider network being flooded and reduces again energy generation and distribution costs.

Microgrids and Endeavour Energy

With a network stretching across the typography of Greater Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and Illawarra and the South Coast, microgrids have a role in our modern network.

We’ve got a huge range of different areas for our network to cover, and that creates many different challenges for both existing locations and newly developing areas. Designing and maintaining a network that is safe and reliable, but also makes best use of all locally generated renewable energy is what we are striving to achieve with microgrids.

One of the great strengths of microgrids is the power reliability they can provide to more regional areas that have typically been serviced by long lines, making the chance of an outage due to a fault some distance away more likely.

We’re currently investigating microgrid options along the South Coast, which could improve power reliability to the area, and also allow for the use of localised and cost-effective renewable energy, creating a more sustainable network for those customers.

Over time, we expect to add a number of microgrids to the Endeavour Energy network, which will create a more modular grid that is customised to suit the needs of the local community.

Microgrids are an exciting technology that really provide clever ways to localise power to the needs of the people in the area. It will help us better use localised renewable energy, which is cost efficient, and create better reliability too.

Those kinds of cost improvements will in time be passed on to customers, so there is a win for the customers, a win for the network and a win for the environment as the modern grid creates the kind of sustainability we all want.