The classic story line about microgrids is that they challenge electric utility monopolies in multiple ways. Up until recently, the vast majority of microgrids deployed in North America, currently a global hotspot for microgrids, were developed by third parties. Not only that, they were designed primarily to offer economic and resiliency benefits to consumers, with the interests of the incumbent utilities almost an afterthought.
That simpleminded view of the world is being challenged by the concept of a “utility distribution microgrid (UDMs),” a concept first put forward by Navigant Research in 2012. Since that time, the number of utilities exploring their opportunities in the microgrid space is growing dramatically.
One could argue that microgrid sprung up as a response to customers not getting what they need from traditional utility service. UDMs turn this premise on its head. They can help utilities manage recent distributed energy resource (DER) employment trends to their advantage. Microgrids owned or operated by utilities can serve the distribution grid first and foremost as well as be a platform for new services for customers.Read More