Smart microgrids refer to an on-grid solution, which functions in connection with – and supplements to – a traditional electricity supply network. Microgrids make consumers less dependent on changing conditions of the electrical grid and guarantee an uninterrupted energy supply, coming from diversified energy sources. Energy is delivered to the existing or developing electrical grids from a mixture of ad hoc renewables, microturbines and other resources. Energy storage is provided by the environment friendly battery storage with up to 5 MW of capacity.
One of the core components of the BPL Africa's smart microgrids is BPL Global's® intelligent Power SG® Integrated Distributed Energy Resources (iDER) software, which can actually define the most cost-efficient energy resource to use, depending on the grid conditions and energy cost. The spare capacity can be sold back to the grid. This unprecedented possibility enables end users to optimize their energy bill.
Currently, the initiatives to integrate effective microgrids come from nearly all over the world. Stanford and Drexel Universities among others work on their storage functions, such as ultra capacitors for supercomputers.
BPL Africa is persuaded that smart microgrids are perfectly adapted for the African continent, where developing countries can start with basic components and add capacities to the system as they can afford it. In South Africa it is especially suitable for mines and mining communities. Currently traditional electrical grid provides to 80% of energy needs of the country's mines. The missing capacity can be cost-efficiently covered with smart microgrids.
Moreover, BPL Africa has developed the smart microgrid solutions for mining communities, most of which currently live with no electricity. This solutions subscribes to the government's objective «to advance the social and economic welfare of mining communities and to improve housing and living conditions.» This objective figures in Broad-Based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining Industry written by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
Therefore, smart microgrids from BPL Africa are more than an energy solution. It is an affordable and sustainable way to the empowerment of the communities, building stronger economy and a greener environment.
Example of a microgrid, functioning in normal conditions of the traditional grid
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