The nitty gritty on island/microgrids

What is an island/microgrid?

An energy generation/storage site located either geographically too far away from a major electric grid (macrogrid) or where it might cost too much to hook up to one.

These types of grids are commonly called “island” grids because they are most often seen on islands like Puerto Rico, Indonesia, and even Australia. However, they can also be found in any type of remote (mainland) geographical area or used to power a building, campus, or community during an emergency. Hence, they are also called “isolated” grids.

What are some benefits of island/microgrids?

Utilities, customers, and the environment can all benefit from the use of island/microgrids.

  • Islands are prime real estate for more environmentally friendly energy generators like wind and solar
  • Microgrids help stabilize energy transmission frequency in these regions, reducing brown/blackouts
  • Customer proximity to generation site helps reduce line losses
  • High local demand can be met with lower power output

What challenges do island/microgrids face?

Financial, regulatory, and even geographical obstacles often prevent island/microgrids from being implemented.

  • No clear universal legal definition for “microgrid” currently exists
  • Different regions have unique geographies that impact island/microgrid implementation
  • Multiple energy technologies at a single project—as well as uncertainty over newly enacted laws and regulations that impose additional restrictions and costs—make investors uneasy

What advantages do GE Vernova’s gas turbines have in an island/microgrid?

GE Vernova’s aeroderivative gas turbines offer numerous advantages to island/microgrid applications. These are just a few.

  • Faster installation, commissioning, and startup time
  • Excellent renewable integration
  • Lower operation and maintenance costs—~30x less man-hours from a smaller team
  • Fuel flexibility—100% natural gas or 100% distillate
  • Lower emissions—~40% lower particulates; ~99% lower methane
  • Smaller footprint—as much as 75% smaller than comparable plants

*Trademark of GE Vernova

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