With the increasing severity of storms and age of the power grid, individuals are becoming less and less satisfied with the quality of service provided by energy utilities and the power grid. This is leading them to move toward energy generation and storage technologies and microgrids.
I’ve had many conversations over the past several months about customers’ growing dissatisfaction with the energy and service that they receive from the grid as well as the growing number of supplements or outright alternatives to the grid that they are being offered by disintermediaries. Customer dissatisfaction arises from a variety of sources including rising prices, unacceptable environmental impacts, complex pricing schemes and demand response programs and inadequate customer service and communications. In the wake of increasingly frequent severe weather events (e.g., Hurricane Sandy, derechos, Oklahoma tornadoes, California wild fires, etc.) and the looming threats of inadequate generation resources during yearly peak load periods, customers are ever more concerned about the increasing frequency and duration of service outages.
Interestingly enough, most people have a DC microgrid that they aren’t even aware of: their cars!
...some residential customers get into their own DC microgrid, their vehicle, which provides shelter, HVAC, light and the ability to charge up their computers and phones and tablets, even the ability to go find power in another grid that is not out of service. And their microgrid has its own DC generation and storage! In the event of a national disaster or threat, the President of the United States boards Air Force One – an airborne DC microgrid!
Moving this kind of technology from cars and airplanes to homes and neighborhoods can help consumers, both in supplying power when the grid goes down and in keeping the costs of energy lower.
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