Zombies, preppers, and microgrids

It seems that popular culture is helping to push microgrids forward.

The appeal of these resilient islands of reliable power is also attracting a constituency not normally interested in the power grid infrastructure: survivalists.  A whimsical story posted by the Rocky Mountain Institute  linked microgrids to the growing fear of zombie invasion, fueled by Hollywood’s recent obsession with the living dead in movies such as World War Z .  (14% of the U.S. public believes a zombie apocalypse could happen  in the next several years, according to a YouGov survey.)

Known as the Kansas Survival Condo , this system was constructed in an abandoned Atlas-F missile silo that reaches 200 feet below the earth’s surface.  But unlike the primitive bomb shelters constructed by your parents in the 1950s, this structure relies upon state of the art microgrid technology.  The 500 kW power supply system, which is not interconnected with any utility grid, incorporates a mix of diesel generation (200 kW), wind power (100 kW) and advanced lead acid batteries (200 kW) to power up unusual loads that include a spa, pool, movie theater and aquaculture food system.

While a zombie apocalypse and high-tech bomb shelters are priming the microgrid industry, it is the people who are interested in self-sufficiency in the face of weather and power outages that will invest in microgrid technologies.

To read more, visit forbes.com.