Genset, Battery Storage, and Decentralized Microgrid Controls: A Simple Synergy for Energy Savings and Resilience

Around the world, commercial and Industrial (C&I) facilities are seeking innovative solutions to enhance energy resilience and cut operational costs. As energy and fleet managers zero in on achieving these goals, many have no doubt heard a lot about the benefits microgrids offer — although some remain uncertain about major capital investments and integrating a highly technical system. That’s where the prospect of integrating an on-site generator set (genset) and battery energy storage system (BESS) arises as a solution.
Combining a genset and BESS with a decentralized control platform can form a microgrid, offering many of the same benefits of these innovative distributed energy systems. This powerful trio revolutionizes how C&I facilities and fleets manage their energy needs, ensuring uninterrupted operations during grid outages and unlocking significant savings.
Let’s delve into how genset and BESS microgrids can benefit C&I facilities and fleets.

Addressing Grid Challenges and Cost Trends in Energy Storage

Many regions contend with grid instability, voltage fluctuations, or subpar power quality, which can disrupt industrial processes and damage equipment. Integrated energy systems become a reliable source of stable, high-quality power to mitigate grid-related vulnerabilities. On-site generators powered by natural gas or diesel provide C&I facilities with a reliable backup power source during grid outages. These generators are designed to seamlessly kick in when the primary grid connection fails, ensuring uninterrupted operations.
A BESS stores excess electricity when the grid is available, and demand is low and discharges energy when needed, such as during peak demand or short-duration power outages. In recent years, energy storage technology, especially lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), have undergone remarkable advancements. These developments have significantly enhanced energy storage system efficiency, capacity, and cost-effectiveness. Control platform software has also become more sophisticated, allowing for real-time monitoring, optimization, and seamless integration of distributed energy resources (DERs).
As technology has advanced, costs have trended downward in energy storage despite a slight uptick in 2022 due to supply chain problems and component prices. Nevertheless, cost projections indicate declines of 47%, 32%, and 16% in low, mid, and high-cost scenarios, respectively, by 2030.
After factoring in rising grid-related risks, innovative technological advancement, and steadily declining costs in the C&I energy equation, the solution results in a genset-and-BESS microgrid.

The Important Role of a Decentralized Control Platform

Simply hooking up a BESS to a genset and hoping for the best outcome won’t suffice — a decentralized control platform is crucial to fully maximize these assets’ benefits. This system uses advanced algorithms and sophisticated software to act as the “brain” of the microgrid. By continuously monitoring energy supply, demand, and market conditions in real time, the decentralized control makes autonomous decisions at various points within the microgrid to ensure efficient energy usage, balanced loads, and resilience.

Generator and Battery Energy Storage Microgrid for Commercial Facilities

C&I operations with the ability to tap into these capabilities gain access to a wide range of benefits, including:

Reduced Risk of Downtime

The microgrid enhances site resilience by providing power during brownouts or backing up critical loads during shorter-duration blackouts. C&I energy storage is a reliable backup power source during such instances, ensuring minimal disruption to operations and safeguarding businesses from the detrimental effects of power outages. For C&I facilities that rely on continuous processes, this resilience is invaluable for reducing downtime and potential revenue loss.

Optimized Energy Use

Energy arbitrage involves using the decentralized control platform to determine the most cost-effective times to charge or discharge the energy storage system. When electricity prices are low (typically during off-peak hours or when there is excess renewable energy), the system charges the batteries. Conversely, during high-price periods (peak demand), it discharges stored energy to power the facility, reducing the need to purchase expensive electricity from the grid.

Energy Cost Savings

By buying electricity when prices are low and selling it back to the grid or using it during peak demand periods when prices are high, C&I facilities can achieve significant cost savings. This process optimizes the use of stored energy and minimizes expenses related to peak demand charges.

Demand Response Participation

In addition to cost savings, microgrids with decentralized control platforms can participate in demand response programs. These programs incentivize facilities to reduce energy consumption during grid stress events, further lowering energy costs and supporting grid stability.

Reduced O&M Costs

The optimized operation of equipment results in reduced wear and tear. This, in turn, lowers operations and maintenance (O&M) costs and extends the lifespan of the microgrid assets and potentially even facility machinery by avoiding the disruptions that lead to damage.

Rapid Scalability and Future-Proofing

Been seeking a simple solution to enhance resilience and lower energy costs at C&I facilities and fleets? Reach out to us today to learn more about how a genset and BESS microgrid using the modular and decentralized Heila EDGE® control and optimization platform can help.