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The Future of Smart Technology

Micro-grids are systems that allow buildings and communities to disconnect from the current energy grid by providing their own energy. That means, they can function independently, even when the power lines are down. The current energy distribution system is becoming increasingly complicated and costly (or impossible) to maintain. Especially, areas that are susceptible to natural disaster have an opportunity to rebuild a new system. What are the ingredients of a micro-grid system? A building/community connected to an on-site power source, coupled with battery storage. This system allows independent operation from the macro-grid when in “island mode”

The state of Maryland proves itself to be a contender in implementing microgrid technologies. They will be allotting a small chunk of their $100 million energy budget to starting this project. This is dear to our hearts here at BarrierEnergy! Both of the founders’ daughters were raised in Maryland, and one continues to work remotely from the East Coast. Also, BarrierEnergy is a company that verifies energy efficient building codes in the state of California. We are indeed a bi-coastal family, and our interest in energy efficiency includes initiatives on both coasts.

Maryland Micro-grids

What’s really special about Maryland’s initiative is the cooperative nature of their approach. They’re checking in with experts across states lines to see who’s doing it the best. By investigating who’s having the most success and how, they can improve upon past designs. For example, Montgomery county has already actualized two microgrids. They’re looking to replicate that design in the future.
In the next round of project bids, the state is looking for developers and engineers who gained knowledge from previous projects. With this kind of planning, they’re hoping to increase the scale and eventually provide energy security across the state. They’ll be allocating six hundred thousand dollars in this round of bids. A project of this scale has the potential to demonstrate economic efficacy for the future, across the US. We eagerly await the updates! To learn more click here.

Closing Thoughts

Interestingly, Maryland’s progress toward microgrid systems was based on a response to natural disaster. It took only one major disaster, a derecho in 2012. In many others states, the repeated threat of natural disasters and power shortages has urged action in a new direction. Here, on the West coast and specifically in California, we suffer from widespread power outages. That’s because we rely on expansive networks of power lines operated by a centralized source that cannot compensate. These systems are vulnerable to our weather patterns, peak seasons, and erosion. 
We need to decide as a nation, whether we want the people or corporations to be in charge of our energy and livelihoods. Because of the grid’s vulnerability across wide swaths of land, there are times when it must be shut down or it becomes damaged. PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) is in control of whether a community has access to power. If their system fails for any reason, it is the people who suffer. It can cost lives when power is lost in an emergency or for an extended amount of time. With the increasing access to Micro-grids, we can change our communities.
Everybody needs access to power. All across the country, geography makes some areas prone to drought, flood, hurricane, icy conditions, or fire, etc. This isn’t an argument for convenience, but necessity. Individuals and communities can decide to invest in these initiatives. One thing you can always do is vote and write letters to elected officials! Vital businesses, particularly hospitals, present a basic starting part for these new systems. They need to remain functional, especially in the case of natural disaster. We are taking the first steps now, and all else can build from there. Learn more about a micro-grid technology here.
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