Microgrids and energy storage are highly promising and frequently discussed topics in the energy community. Growing cybersecurity threats and frequent natural disasters that pose risk to the electric system have made microgrid solutions a desirable infrastructure improvement for customers and utilities.
At times, however, the terms “microgrid” and “energy storage” are used interchangeably – implying energy storage systems naturally provide energy security. It is important to recognize that microgrids and energy storage are not the same thing.
The answer to whether energy storage is essential to a functioning microgrid is: well, it depends. Energy storage is a flexible, versatile distributed energy resource that can provide significant benefit to a microgrid.
However, implementing an energy storage system alone does not constitute a microgrid, and there are many scenarios where microgrids can be designed and implemented without storage.
Since adding storage resources carries significant additional capital investment to a project, it’s important for customers to identify their resiliency and energy security goals and work with qualified energy solutions partners to achieve those goals. Qualified partners should be independent to provide the greatest portfolio of solutions, have experience in energy efficiency to maximize cost effectiveness, and have demonstrated expertise in generation, controls and storage to effectively develop, design and implement successful energy security solutions.
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