Usually, power grids rely on a
far-flung network. For example, a person making toast might be drawing
electricity from miles away. A microgrid is a local, independent power
grid that can run without electricity from the main network.
pilot site for microgrids is at the Pitt Ohio trucking company in nearby
Harmar, Pa. Jim Maug, director of building maintenance, eagerly showed a
reporter the building's green credentials last month. A wind turbine
twisted near the parking lot. Solar panels tiled the roof. And in the
truck bay, electric forklifts ran on batteries fueled by the renewable
"We're anticipating about a seven to eight-year return on investment," said Maug. The project cost about $325,000, he added.
Reed, head of the energy program at the University of Pittsburgh's
engineering school, designed the grid. It includes a battery bank to
store the energy for times when the sun does not shine and the wind does
not blow. During a storm, he said, even if the local power plant shuts
down, the lights at this truck bay will probably stay on.
is really a first step in the direction we want to take for larger
scale installations," he added. He imagines expanding what he's created
here to cover whole neighborhoods, and then linking those microgrids to
create a flexible network.
Read the full story by Daniella Cheslow at NPR.
Daniella Cheslow, National Public Radio, 11/12/2017
Contact: Paul Kovach