Grid connection sizes: residential, commercial and industrial?

What are the typical size of grid connections at different residential, commercial and industrial facilities? This data-file derives aggregate estimates, from the 10kW grid connections of smaller homes to the GW-scale grid connections of large data-centers, proposed green hydrogen projects and aluminium plants. Also included are our notes on each category, data into 5GW of US micro-grids and assessments of the possible winners-and-losers from growing power grid bottlenecks.

A typical home in the developed world currently has a 10-15kW maximum power capacity. Exceeding this load may cause its circuit breaker to trip. Hence some homes may need upgraded grid connections to add electric vehicle chargers or heat pumps.

Office buildings that have crossed our screens typically require 50-500kW grid connections, rising to MW-scale connections for larger office buildings with 15,000m2 of space or more.

Other facilities with which we are all familiar include Walmart Super-Centers (1.3MW average grid connection), medium-sized hospitals (5MW), London tube underground stations (6MW) and airports (c10MW). Although again, capacity varies with size.

One excellent source for these numbers is looking at the sizes of around 1,000 US microgrids, with over 5GW of capacity, of which around 50% were constructed in the last decade, powered by CHPs (50%), gas turbines (17%), diesel generators (10%), solar (12%), wind (5%) and hydro (6%), and supported by 5 GWh of battery storage.

Number of microgrids in the US and the total capacity of microgrids constructed per year.

Light manufacturing and food-processing facilities will also tend to have an average grid connection of around 1MW, across c50,000 such facilities around the United States, which are aggregated in our database of electricity consumption by sector.

For larger facilities, we turn to our own economic models, to quantify the typical grid sizes. As usual, facilities with larger capacities will have larger power grid connections.

Size of grid connections will range from 10-30MW for 200kTpa chlor-alkali plants, 1MTpa cement plants, 1MTpa CCS compressors or 100,000 vehicle per year auto plants.

Finally we come to the true monsters, with grid connections above 100MW, such as larger data-centers, aluminium plants and proposed green hydrogen facilities, some reaching 2-3GW in scale.

Size of grid connection and growth trajectory determine whether industrial facilities will realistically need to generate their own power in increasingly bottlenecked power grids.

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