The AC/DC debate in power has really been one of “distributed vs. centralized.” Microgrids can help decentralize, and thus reinforce, the grid.
The alternative energy revolution — based on sources of renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal being fed into the overall electrical grid — commenced in earnest in the 1980s. In fact, state and federal agencies mandated that electrical utilities purchase this capacity. Since then, alternative energy sources have multiplied into a massive industry., and increasing amounts of power are coming from these sources.
There’s a catch, however — reviving an argument Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla were having well over a century ago. “The existing grid relies on alternating current (AC) and power generation sources with mechanical rotation,” according to Dr. Manjari Asawa, Brett Murphy, and Sujan Bose in a new whitepaper. “These classic power generators rely on the physics of electrically connected motors to automatically keep the phase and frequency of the AC signal synchronized. On the other hand, renewable energy sources such as solar and batteries are usually direct current (DC) and so require conversion into AC at the exact phase and frequency as the main grid.”
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