- A booster group for microgrids has published a paper aimed at helping community leaders understand how the new technologies can reinforce their energy infrastructure, save on outage costs and benefit the environment.
- MicrogridKnowledge.com released the paper, aimed at mayors and city leaders, noting that microgrids can help areas compete for in-demand industries and jobs.
- And with power outages costing the United States up to $75 billion annually, the financial benefits of just keeping the lights on are easy to understand, the group said.
MicrogridKnowledge.com has issued a free white paper aimed at educating community leaders about microgrids and how they can be developed. While the paper is fairly broad, sketching out general concepts and defining terms, it notes that microgrids are “a key feature of the new clean and efficient electrical infrastructure that is beginning to transform America’s energy grid.”
Among the benefits: Keeping the lights on in emergencies; strengthening the central grid; enhancing community economics and improving the environment. And in trying to lower greenhouse gas emissions, the paper found that “cities may also reduce their electric rates, if they pursue a systems approach that incorporates [combined heat and power] connected to microgrids.”
The paper also examines financing methods, including federal or state funds, private investment, energy bonds and tax credits.
“So far, much of the funding cities and towns have tapped for microgrids comes from government sources,” MicrogridKnowledge noted. “Most notable among state programs is the NY Prize, a $40 million grant program to create model community microgrids. New York has already begun awarding $100,000 prizes to cities for feasibility studies in the first stage of what will be a three-stage grant process."
Microgrids have come under focus recently, especially in more progressive states for energy policy. New York's Reforming the Energy Vision directs utilities to consider how they can incorporate microgrids, and last year Central Hudson Gas & Electric outlined a proposal to build, own and operate microgrids for customers with a total or aggregated load of at least 500 kW.
In California, this year San Diego Gas & Electric used a solar-based microgrid to provide power to an entire community during planned maintenance, avoiding a significant outage. The microgrid supplied power to 2,800 customers in Borrego Springs for nine hours.