A community in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, frequented with power outages may be getting an experimental microgrid.
The proposed $35 million microgrid would supply power to an area housing government facilities, first responders, medical facilities, and other utilities, along with residential and commercial properties. In the event of a major power outage, the microgrid would be able to operate independently of the regional power grid.
Using a combination of natural gas generators, solar panels, and lithium-ion batteries, the cost would be absorbed by consumers. The eventual cost is estimated to be $0.29/month for residential consumers using 1,000 kWh.
Not uncommon in Europe, microgrids offer an alternative to large, centralized power plants and are more accommodating to alternative energy sources (e.g. solar and wind). They also allow for faster power restoration times. The microgrid, if installed, would allow power restoration for the area within 15 minutes. In the same area last year, many were without power for days.