Microgrids: Iowa's Next Energy Frontier
by Haley Van Loon
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Living in Iowa, you have likely driven within sight of a wind turbine farm with its tubular towers sprouting up hundreds of feet above the local farmer’s crops, or noticed angled solar panels in tight groupings along some shadow-free earth or perched on the edge of a new building’s rooftop. After such an observation, did you pause to wonder how these wind or solar capturing devices might be used to directly benefit your business or community? Increasingly, the answer to that question is microgrids.
Simply put, electric microgrids have been broadly defined as a local network of multiple sources of power and users of power that can connect and disconnect from the surrounding electric macrogrid. Whether you are a business owner, municipality, educational entity or individual consumer, the potential for smaller-scale electricity generation and distribution is quickly becoming a reality. Renewable energy sources and increased battery storage are creating a new age of electricity consumption that is clean, cheap, and secure. While becoming completely separate from the macrogrid is challenging today, investing in your own energy generation and consumption habits now can provide a number of benefits, including increased security, reliability, power quality, flexibility and control. In determining whether a microgrid is for you, consider the following questions:
- Do you provide essential services?
- Does an interruption in the supply of electricity negatively impact your business?
- Do you want protection against increasing electricity rates?
- Do you want more control in how electricity is supplied to you?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then a microgrid may be for you. Now is the time to begin planning for your energy future. For help in determining how microgrids can advance your goals, please contact Haley Van Loon, or any member of BrownWinick’s energy team, including Sheila Tipton, Philip Stoffregen, Rachel Morgan and Jim Pray.