Industry study: Microgrids to become ‘fundamental building block’

A new study suggests that microgrids – a rarity in today’s power sector – will evolve to become a “fundamental building block” of the 21st-century grid. Used primarily to ensure reliability and access in military and other critical applications, microgrids have emerged in recent years as a niche interest for utilities and communities looking to bring more renewables online and increase resilience in the face of extreme weather. Despite the heightened profile, microgrids – islandable networks of generation and distribution – remain a small part of the U.S. energy system, making up a fraction of a percent of the nation’s total power generating capacity. That is poised to change, according to a report released earlier this month by the National Electrical Manufacturing Association (NEMA), an industry group representing electrical, medical imaging, and radiation therapy manufacturers.

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