The International Microgrid Association (IMA) is an industry-first organisation championing the decentralised energy future through microgrids, and intends to help accelerate the global development of microgrids as an energy solution.
IMA is based in Perth, Western Australia. The state is home to one of the largest microgrid networks in the world, with founding IMA member Horizon Power owning and operating 37 microgrids across the state.
IMA Chair, Terry Mohn, said the not-for-profit group included a growing coalition of members of the global microgrid value chain, such as Cisco, Schneider Electric, Telstra, UWA, Woodside, ATCO Gas and Horizon Power, who are committed to leading change and rapidly progressing the microgrid sector.
“The focus of this industry-first development body is to bring together key players to support, through cross-sector collaboration, investment and acceleration of innovative, cost effective microgrid technologies and capabilities across the world,” Mr Mohn said.
“In doing this, our aim is to underscore the reliability, resilience, security and interoperability of these modern energy systems.
“With approximately one billion people still living without access to electricity, and rising electricity costs and outages a growing issue for many, the IMA is very excited about supporting microgrid development, deployment and commercialisation, and the associated employment opportunities that will arise from this clean power source.”
The global microgrids market is estimated to be valued at US$30 billion in 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 15 per cent between 2018 and 2022, according to GlobalData.
In the US, microgrids are being developed in response to major grid outages caused by extreme weather both on the East Coast and in California on the back of recent wildfire-induced power outages.
In Australia, in its recent Budget announcement, the Federal Government allocated $50 million to support feasibility studies for microgrids to help power regional and remote communities.
“Western Australia, through Horizon Power’s world-leading distributed energy resources projects and trials, is leading the international microgrid sector, making WA an obvious choice for the IMA’s base,” said Mr Mohn.
“Through education, awareness and advocacy, we can help manage the impacts on global energy markets as transformation of the electric power system occurs, and assist people, organisations and governments to gain access to this renewable, reliable, safe, affordable power solution.”
Microgrids are a collection of generation, storage and load resources, leveraging a confined distribution system that constantly balances power flow with high reliability, low costs and minimal emissions.
“Microgrids solve many of the issues associated with integration of renewables into the electric power network.”