Today’s Solutions: March 03, 2024

Unpredictable and impactful weather events like wildfires, snowstorms, and tornadoes present a particular problem for large areas with large unifying power grids. In one wild day, a whole city’s power and essential services can be shut off. It’s for this reason that researchers and utilities have to get creative, diversify, and make it so the whole system won’t collapse. 

Last month, Commonwealth Edison completed a test of its microgrid in the Bronzeville Neighborhood of Chicago. With help from the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Department of Energy, Bronzeville, a historically black neighborhood, can function independently of the greater Chicago energy grid with its own generators, batteries, and even solar panels mounted on the roofs of apartment buildings. 

What is a microgrid?

Essentially, a microgrid is a smaller network of energy sources and loads that connects to a larger energy grid but can disconnect from it and function independently, say, in the event of an emergency. There’s also a rising interest in microgrids because of their ability to integrate renewable energy

There are a lot of challenges in creating a functional microgrid, which is what makes ComEd’s success in Bronzeville so momentous. It was able to connect not only to Chicago’s much larger grid but also that of the Illinois Institute of Technology, which has its own functional yet smaller microgrid. 

There have been successful microgrids made in the United States and abroad – such as in Australia but not on the scale of Bronzeville. Not in a community of over 1,000 residences, businesses, educational institutions, and public services. And not connected to a larger grid like that of Chicago. 

Resiliency and renewables: Our energy future 

The establishment of the Bronzeville microgrid offers a new future of safety through diversity, wherein metropolitan areas consist of smaller contingent neighborhoods that can operate independently, as well as collectively, and better endure unpredictable weather events.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

This is your brain on music

Music does something to humans like no other animal. The rhythm gets inside our bodies and we can’t help but move along with the ...

Read More

Recruiting kombucha in the fight for sustainable drinking water

We’ve previously reported about the use of kombucha for a number of innovative reasons. Like stylish compostable shoes, sustainable wood alternatives, and as the ...

Read More

How a group of islanders is using AI to save coral reefs

Coral reefs are some of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems, providing not only a key habitat for many species of marine life but also ...

Read More

Opting out: 4 alternative movements to redefine Black Friday

Right now, the Black Friday shopping festivities are undoubtedly engulfing our screens and storefronts. It's easy for consumerism to take center stage, but nonetheless, ...

Read More