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Future of Energy, the environment and economic development in non-urban or remote communities depends on democratizing the monopolized traditional power grid by creating localized and sustainable Microgrids.

A Microgrid is a self-sustaining power grid within a localized boundary with distributed generation resources and local loads. The Microgrid can operate independently of the traditional utility macrogrid as an island, or it can be connected to the grid as single controllable entity in a bumpless manner. A Microgrid is a small, holistic energy system capable of balancing captive supply and demand resources to maintain stable service within a defined boundary. Generation and loads in a Microgrid are usually interconnected at low voltage. From the point of view of the utility grid operator, a connected Microgrid can be controlled as if it were a single entity.

Developing nations are investing heavily in Microgrids as a viable energy strategy to bring reliable power to their developing communities. India, for instance, in the wake of their massive 2012 blackout, began investing in this technology. Microgrids are a primary strategy for emerging industrial cities and communities. Similar initiatives are underway in other Asian nations.

Microgrid capacity in the United States will be nearly 2 gigawatts by 2018 and is expected to grow at an astonishingly high rate.

Microgrid implementations are driven by key drivers such as:

  • Need for electrification in remote locations and developing countries, especially remote islands
  • Customer need for more reliable, resilient and sustainable service
  • Grid security and survivability concerns for critical industrial operations and military installations
  • Traditional utility initiatives for grid optimization and reliability, investment deferral, congestion relief and ancillary services and demand for lower-cost energy in regions with high cost of traditional power

Microgrids can be categorized as:

  • Off-grid Microgrids including islands, remote sites and other Microgrid systems not connected to a local utility power grid
  • Campus Microgrids that are fully interconnected with a local utility grid but can also maintain some level of service in isolation from the grid, such as during a power outage. Examples are university and corporate campuses, casinos, military bases, large industrial complexes, shopping malls, large hotels, etc.
  • Community Microgrids that are integrated into utility networks. Such Microgrids serve multiple customers and are used generally to provide green power or resilient power in case of power outages

Microgrid generation resources include green and clean forms of energy, including renewables. These include fuel cells and gas micro turbines, wind, solar, batteries, small hydro or other energy sources or storage technologies.

OSI's solutions and platforms are ideal technologies that can be readily applied to operation, monitoring and control and optimization of the Microgrid within the boundary of the Microgrid itself as well as integrating the Microgrid into the utility's operation. OSI's scalable applications and platforms can be offered as hosted services or locally installed and operated systems. OSI's monarch/SGP™ (Smart Grid Platform) is able to handle thousands of Microgrids as a central platform or can be scaled to handle a single or multiple Microgrids. In addition to monitoring and control, OSI's advanced generation and network applications (GMS, DMS and EMS) can integrate the Microgrid as a resource into the utility's network. Our Distributed Energy Resource Management applications can monitor, control and dispatch distributed generation and Microgrids into the large utility portfolio of assets. Security of Microgrid operation will be as important as the security related to other utility assets. OSI's secure software applications can bring the same level of robustness and security famililar to large utility operators to the Microgrid.