Rolls-Royce and ABB announced a global partnership to offer technologies and automation to implement energy-efficient microgrids for utilities and commercial and industrial enterprises.
“Due to the transformation towards decarbonization, customers need to pursue sustainable power options that also deliver utmost profitability. For this, we rely primarily on microgrids, which are autonomous energy supply systems that are efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly,” stated Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems.
Microgrids are small-scale electric grid that combines power from distributed energy generation sources such as combined heat and power plants, diesel- and gas-powered gensets and renewable sources with batteries. The microgrid provides the overall control to coordinate these resources to meet the requirements of industrial, residential or consumer loads.
A microgrid can function either off-grid or connected to the main power grid. The ability of a microgrid to separate itself from the main grid in the event of a potential grid fault or emergency, is an important feature, according to Rolls-Royce.
Other factors contributing to the interest in microgrid technologies are the need for power reliability (e.g., during peak consumption periods or weather-related shortages); and the interest in integrating renewable energy sources.
“Microgrids enable resilient power supply even with high penetration of intermittent renewable energy sources, like wind and solar,” Rolls noted. "Digital automation and control systems intelligently coordinate distributed energy resources and loads for the microgrid to function efficiently."
Rolls-Royce’s contribution to the partnership will be its integrated MTU diesel and gas genset system technologies and control solutions. ABB will offer its modular microgrid solution, control capability, and remote service capabilities — ABB Ability™ e-mesh™ — to provide power-generation asset owners a vertically integrated, unified view of distributed energy resources and renewable power generation with lower operating costs.
“Combining our integrated MTU diesel and gas genset system technology and our control solutions, with ABB’s modular microgrid solution, control capability and remote service, will offer customers the combined strengths of the two world leaders in technology,” according to Schell.