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News Link • Energy

Microgrids Keep Power Flowing Through Sandy Outages

•, Martin LaMonica
 The widespread power outages in the wake of Hurricane Sandy cast light on the weakness of a completely centralized electric power system and spotlighted the benefits of distributed power generation.

A number of locations reported that on-site power generation and the ability to operate independently of the grid allowed organizations, such as colleges and businesses, to stay at least partially online during the worst of the storm.

In many cases, back-up diesel generators are sufficient to keep businesses, such as stores and even data centers, operating during grid outages. People have been putting gasoline generators into service for their homes, too.

Microgrids are different in that they allow organizations to operate in “island” mode, or independent of the grid, for long periods. The two hurricanes in the east coast over the past two years and other heavy storms, including one approaching the northeast today, could generate more interest microgrid technologies, says Peter Asmus, an analyst at Pike Research.

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