Microgrids Optimize Efficiency to Ensure Performance and Cost Savings
Efficiency on both the demand and supply side is a key enabler of microgrid performance. Balancing both energy demand and supply is critical to success.
Demand Side Efficiency
Microgrid performance starts with a strong efficiency plan to reduce and streamline your current energy demand and better align critical and controllable loads. As a global specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric can help you achieve additional cost savings with strategic energy efficiency measures such as lighting system and HVAC updates, and building automation.
If your energy costs are $2 million/year, a 20% reduction equals a margin improvement of $400,000/year.
Supply Side Efficiency
With an intelligent microgrid, you get tremendous work out of each unit of energy, which results in real cost savings. Here’s how:
Reduce loss: Microgrids use distributed energy resources (DERs) that act like small power plants near the buildings they supply, not miles away like large, centralized power plants. So microgrids experience less ‘line loss’ – the disappearance of electricity as it moves long distances over power lines.
Reuse heat: Many microgrids use a technology called combined heat and power (CHP), where heat created during power production is reused to create steam and hot water for buildings, industrial processes, or even for cooling. Whereas, conventional power plants waste the heat by-product by letting it dissipate into the air. CHP derives twice the energy from one fuel source, a clear economic advantage.
Optimize resources: Because they are intelligent, microgrids can optimize when and how they use central grid and local distributed energy resources. So if it’s a hot day and prices peak on the central grid, the microgrid can choose to use its own, less expensive distributed energy resources. Conversely, the microgrid can buy from the central grid if power prices fall below the cost of local generation. The microgrid also can switch between its different local generation sources as cost and availability of fuel changes. So if electric prices spike during certain hours, the microgrid may choose to rely more on its renewable generation.