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Are Microgrids the future of energy?

Inenco look into the potential applications of microgrids within UK businesses and how they can help cut energy costs and supply reliable power to business sites, so you can make the most of your energy.

The grid is a high-voltage transmission network connecting central power stations to homes and businesses all over the country, allowing the use of generated electricity.

The UK grid is currently supplied equally by renewable, nuclear, coal fired and gas fired power stations. As the grid is interconnected to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, the Isle of Man, France and the Netherlands, if there is an issue impacting just one part of the grid, it can affect all users and this can be a major problem for some businesses who need to keep their lights on.

There are several factors putting strain on the current infrastructure including an increase in energy consumption, an increase in demand for clean, renewable energy and an aging distribution infrastructure. These are affecting the way we generate, distribute and consume our energy and highlights the need for a flexible supply of energy.

If you haven’t come across the term before, a microgrid is simply a localised energy grid with control capability, meaning it can disconnect from the traditional grid. Microgrids are often privately owned and can be powered by generators, batteries and renewable sources. It can operate autonomously or in conjunction with the grid and can help businesses keep their operations running even when the grid is in a state of repair. Some UK project examples include: Centre for Alternative Technology Microgrid, Wales, Isles of Scilly, Isle of Eigg and Knoydart.

How can Microgrids help you?

Microgrids allow your business to become more energy independent. By introducing a microgrid to your energy strategy you can ensure consistent, reliable power to your site which can also act as a backup in case of emergencies. In the case of a black out or a point of low supply for example, a microgrid allows you to use your own generated energy on-site and keep your business operations running.

Other Microgrid Applications

There are many additional applications for a microgrid such as Demand Side Response (DSR) schemes, where the energy generated by your business can be used to support the demand of the grid at peak times. Businesses can work with National Grid programmes to fund their business’ capacity, by either increasing or reducing consumption on request.

Microgrids can also support your business to avoid penalties for peak power consumption, which is especially useful during triad season. Reducing grid use during suspected triads (usually between 5pm and 6pm, on Mondays and Thursdays) and using your own generated power from a microgrid helps your business to avoid inflated costs during peak times.

If you would like to speak to an expert about your business’ energy, our team of knowledgeable industry advisors are on hand to help you. Call us on 08451 46 36 26 or email