Skip to main content
Article
Peaceful Coexistence: Independent Microgrids are Coming
Public Utilities Fortnightly (2013)
  • Sara C Bronin, University of Connecticut
  • Paul McCary
Abstract
The growing push for microgrids in the United States over the last five years has generated a lot of excitement. Those worried about our aging transmission and distribution infrastructure hope microgrids can reduce demands on that grid, while increasing reliability. Environmentalists and energy efficiency advocates think microgrids can help us both decrease reliance on fossil fuels and improve the way we utilize waste heat. Academics love the concept, because microgrids—an out-of-the-box approach with far-reaching implications on user-utility relationships—provide great fodder for research and commentary. Perhaps most significantly in this struggling economy, a growing number of companies have invested millions in developing software, equipment, and configuration models that will generate even more economic investment if microgrids ever take off. At the same time, however, microgrids have raised a lot of questions—mostly related to law and public policy— about implementation on the ground. Two of the biggest questions are these: First, how can microgrids with different configurations be integrated into our existing regulatory framework? And second, should utilities resist or embrace microgrids? These questions aren’t easy to answer, but this short article attempts to do that.
Keywords
  • Microgrid,
  • distributed generation,
  • renewable energy,
  • energy,
  • public utility,
  • franchise
Publication Date
March, 2013
Citation Information
Sara C Bronin and Paul McCary. "Peaceful Coexistence: Independent Microgrids are Coming" Public Utilities Fortnightly (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/bronin/16/