Some 600 million people in India have been left without power after parts of the country’s massive electricity grid collapsed Tuesday. While the cause isn’t yet clear, the outage isn’t surprising. India’s grid has long been strained, with demand often exceeding supply by hundreds of megawatts, forcing regular rolling blackouts in some areas. A big part of the solution is obvious: more power plants, more power lines, and an increased supply of coal and other fossil fuels—in India, many power plants don’t operate at full capacity because they can’t get enough fuel. But another part could be technology that’s already starting to catch on in many parts of the developing world: microgrids. Instead of relying only on large, centralized power plants, microgrids supply a small area with electricity from distributed sources—such as diesel generators combined with solar panels with battery storage. These localized grids can operate either attached to the national grid or apart from it, in many cases allowing businesses and hospitals and other organizations to keep going without a hiccup when the larger grid goes down. The technology is already becoming popular in India because businesses can’t simply count on the grid. “There is a tremendous amount of… Read full this story
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