Mason & Hanger's Alex Chapin, part of Mason & Hanger’s Energy & Sustainability Team, presented “Critical Efficiency: Analyzing and Designing Microgrids to Improve Facility Resilience and Reliability”. The discussion was part of the ASHRAE seminar “Improving Grid Interactions and Designing Power Outages.”
Microgrids Enable Resilience and Reliability
Our utility infrastructure is vulnerable to extreme weather events, cyberattacks, deliberate hostile actions, ageing infrastructure, and the effects of climate change. These disruptions will certainly impact economic activities and put citizens at risk. To address these threats, facilities need to assess their mission readiness in the event of prolonged utility outages. With this in mind, the traditional approach of building-by-building standby generation becomes difficult to implement.
The presentation focused on how utilizing microgrids with multiple energy sources (generators, renewables, and energy storage) and a microgrid controller, to manage the supply and demand of electricity, can lead to more resilient and reliable facilities. This approach and the associated workflow was demonstrated with a case study from a secure government compound in Africa. Finally, the presentation highlighted key factors to consider when determining the applicability of hardening generators and making a case for including renewable power and energy storage systems such as photovoltaic (PV) panels and batteries.