According to a recent report from Pike Research , Boulder, Colo., a variety of trends are converging to create significant growth potential for microgrids — “islanded” power generation and distribution zones that can operate autonomously from the larger electrical grid — leading the cleantech market intelligence firm to forecast that more than 2,000 sites will be operational worldwide by 2015, up from fewer than 100 in 2010.
“The distinguishing feature of a microgrid is the ability to separate and isolate itself from the utility’s distribution system during brownouts and blackouts,” says Managing Director Clint Wheelock. “This degree of localized control is compelling for many microgrid proponents during this time of increasing concern over grid reliability.”
Wheelock adds that a variety of Smart Grid technologies, more often employed for utility-scale grid automation projects, will also be used very effectively for microgrids. Pike Research segments the microgrid market into five major categories:
- Institutional/Campus Microgrids with a single owner, which are forecast to be the largest segment with 53% of deployments by 2015.
- Commercial/Industrial Microgrids with multiple owners, which Pike Research expects will be the second largest category with 39% of deployments.
- Community/Utility Microgrids, which are tied to the larger utility grid infrastructure.
- Remote Off-Grid Systems, which will be increasingly common in developing countries.
- Military Microgrids, which can support remote base operations without a fuel supply.
Source: Pike Research