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News Article

Flexible Power, Microgrids for Reliable & Cheap Electricity

By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Thu, 03/10/2022 - 17:04

The changing composition of energy grids has introduced connectivity and coordination problems, which made them vulnerable to disruptions. By providing stability and control, microgrids represent a great market opportunity for Mexico. The technology will likely play a critical role in the energy transition of global economies too.

“The traditional power grid brings large-scale generation to end-consumers. However, the challenges of the 21st century demand a modern and more flexible grid,” said Theodore Lorentzos, Regional Sales and Business Development Manager, Bergen Engines.

The public has put increased pressure on international governments to reduce their carbon footprint. While governments have made strides, they will or cannot fully commit to a complete net-zero energy transition until renewable energy intermittency has been dealt with. Other challenges related to this intermittency is the stability of the grid, a problem that has been recently compounded by extreme weather events. These challenges have created market demand for microgrids, which provide flexible, agile and robust energy distribution from end-to-end, a vital requirement for critical infrastructures that depend on stable energy resources.

This demand has allowed Bergen Engines to grow their global installed capacity to 5000MW, mostly via cogeneration power plants. In Mexico, they have a portfolio of six power plants with a total capacity of 75MW, concentrated mostly around industrial centers that opted for alternative energy sources until Mexico’s energy grid is fully modernized. Starting in this country, Bergen has already expanded to two neighboring economies, prompting the company to open a service center in Queretaro, which is to be inaugurated later this year. The center forms part of the company’s larger ambition to spread out to other Latin American economies that face similar challenges: unstable grid systems, stringent climate change goals and a growing energy demand. In fact, climate change itself is poses challenges too, as grids struggle with unique weather events such as last year’s Texas winter storm.

Until economies can fully mitigate these challenges, microgrids will remain an attractive solution for Latin America's diverse industries, each with their own specific needs. “A Microgrid is not a physical type of infrastructure. It is a concept that can be built with a combination of technology as required by budgetary limitations, as well as geographic constraints or strengths,” said Lorentzos. Bergen provides medium-speed natural gas generating sets that include multiple groups of motors that provide the ultimate flexibility and control, able to start and stop almost instantly on demand. Furthermore, these systems can be completely independent from energy grids using their own fuels and dispatch. All these benefits come without the need to raise carbon emissions. Engines can later even be retrofitted to function with green hydrogen, thereby giving it adaptability to evolve as the energy transition progresses.

Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Journalist & Industry Analyst