Microgrids Offer Resiliency for Utilities Facing Climate Change Challenges

In an episode of Energy Central's Power Perspectives podcast series, Guidehouse Insights examines the value of microgrids for utilities and their customers

Utilities weren’t always enamored with microgrids, at least not in the continental US. The fear was that they might wreak havoc on existing systems, but times are changing. Guidehouse Insights forecasts show that in 2021 more distributed energy resources (DER) are online than centralized power generation. This means that microgrids have become a necessity in the orchestration of DER. 

In an episode of Energy Central's Power Perspectives podcast series, Peter Asmus, research director at Guidehouse Insights, talked to host Jason Price about how the grid has changed to integrate microgrids. Asmus explained utilities today are investing in these platforms because the cost of DER has decreased while power outages have increased.

“We have utilities shutting off the grid as an emergency response to wildfires and high winds with the public safety power shutoff,” Asmus said. “People are looking for solutions. They're looking essentially for greater reliability and resiliency.”

While microgrids may be a better fit for a small or medium sized municipal utility that is more self-governing, investors in private providers are pushing private utilities to participate in reducing climate risk and invest in clean energy microgrids, he said.

“Utilities are now less opposed to microgrids,” Asmus said. “Even if they don’t deploy a microgrid themselves, that microgrid can serve as a demand response resource.”

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