Microgrid interconnectivity is the key to power grid resiliency, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This allows microgrids to communicate with one another, which would be useful, for example, to shift energy production from one location to a higher priority location during supply interruptions. And this is exactly what is currently being developed in Alaska.
Alaska’s RADIANCE Program Designed to Boost Microgrid Interconnectivity
RADIANCE stands for “automation, network analysis, control, and energy storage,” and it is currently under development in Alaska via a $6.2 million grant. The overarching goal is to facilitate communication across the Alaska microgrid, which consists of over 50 distributed assets across multiple village locations. Alaska accounts for roughly 15% of America’s microgrids, so it’s a great place to begin to build out this type of interconnectivity. Check out this article for more information on the RADIANCE program.
Microgrid interconnectivity would certainly go a long way toward fixing the power grid in Alaska, and as such could be a good example for other states to follow. No matter what the threat – severe weather, terrorism, cyber-attacks, you name it – microgrid interconnectivity can help isolate supply interruptions, shift fragmented load sources to places that need power the most, and generally harden the system.
I love this idea, because storm hardening is one of the keys to boosting electric grid reliability. Plus, we live in a networked world, so this makes a lot of sense. I will definitely be keeping a close eye on the RADIANCE program and, if successful, the degree to which this idea can be expanded to other states.