According to a recent article for Intel by Andres Carvallo (an expert on smart grids and power infrastructure) microgrids will play a key role in enabling the growth of the Internet of Things (IOT) and Smart Cities.
Microgrids are local energy grids which can be powered by a wide range of energy sources from fuel cells to diesel generators. They are designed to work in tandem with the main grid but can be switched to standalone mode if the main grid fails.
Carvallo suggests that microgrids offer the reliability and security of supply required when every object in our homes and workplaces has network connectivity; the Internet of Things. The growth of smartphone usage and the appearance of products such as home monitoring systems and driverless cars suggest that IOT is already part of many peoples lives. The Smart City concept is about connecting IOT devices to make entire communities to operate more effectively by, for instance, automatically diverting your car if there is heavy traffic.
The issue that these concepts must over come is that energy availability, even in the developed world, is under pressure. No power equals no IOT, and the smarter our cities get the greater the need for reliable energy.
US-based microgrids already offer 1.2 gigawatts (GW) capacity, with an expectation of 20GW by 2020. Early adopters include remote communities, universities and government facilities.
Whilst microgrid projects often incorporate new renewable energy technologies such as wind or solar, many installations operate using hybrid power sources. The very nature of their operation (to back-up the main grid) means they need to be able to provide power on demand.
It look like the trusty diesel generator will still be purring away in the background even in the brave new world.
Eagle Generators can help you source new or used diesel generators whatever the application so contact us to find out more.
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