Microgrids are about to really disrupt traditional utility business models. For some time I've thought it odd that the C&I (Commercial and Industrial) sector has been so slow to pick up on the possibilities of energy storage. That said, the sector was very slow to pick up the benefits of solar PV too, and that market still has so much potential. Combine solar, wind, energy storage, and grid supply and services and whilst potentially complex, business models are there to benefit any company or campus that installs a microgrid. Decentralised energy is happening at pace, and utilities need to learn and adapt fast.
“It’s not that we like microgrids, it’s that we like what they can do,” Bronski said. “This project defies the traditional definition because, although it can island, we are really looking at how it interacts more broadly with the PV systems, the battery storage, and the load on the distribution feeder.” Microgrids have been used for decades, but they have typically been built by independent developers using fossil fuel generators to protect end users from grid outages, said Ryan Edge, SEPA Program Manager and co-author of the white paper, “Microgrids: Expanding Applications, Implementations, and Business Structures”