2018/09/10: microgrids as the end result the combination of several technological trends, namely, rooftop solar, electric vehicles, heat pumps and batteries for storage. The key is that these technologies are decentralized—they can easily be owned by consumers and cooperatives in local systems.
Currently the way in which we use these technologies is, in his words, “dumb.” We simply attach solar panels, heat pumps, and electric vehicles to the grid for their own separate purposes. This dramatically increases the load on the local grid, requiring costly infrastructure upgrades to sustain the system.
The report simulated what would happen if the Ardehuizen implemented an intelligently managed microgrid with more sophisticated local supply and demand mechanisms.
These would entail a whole suite of interconnected technologies: a community battery storage system, smart meters which actively monitor the entire system, air-to-water heat pumps intelligently managed according to actual demand, local energy trading between the houses so they can exchange surplus, more electric vehicles, the use of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units which generate both heat and electricity using biomass, and the installation of a local district heating network to distribute heat to multiple houses.
this could well represent only the beginning of what is possible. The end-goal of the Metabolic team’s technology research is a concept called “Smarthoods.”
The project aims to design an urban system which integrates decentralised food, water and energy flows in order to create a nearly fully self-sufficient neighbourhood.
It works based on the principle of “circularity”—recycling water, materials, and waste as much as possible within the system.
Nearly 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity, but bringing them up to a western level of consumption of fossil fuels will fry the planet. What's the ethical path forward?
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