The utility industry is in the midst of grid modernization efforts that ramped up in large part following the Northeast Blackout of 2003. The massive blackout, a wake up call to utilities and consumers alike, compounded the concerns about climate change, the burgeoning population and scarcity of natural resources. The blackout spurred the industry to aggressively pursue a more intelligent power grid.
At the same time, energy consumers became more concerned about their local power quality and efficiency of the system. Local brownouts are a nuisance and have driven consumers to take greater responsibility for their electricity supply – particularly industries and communities with a critical need for reliable power. Investments in energy efficiency, renewable generation and power monitoring and control systems increased, often resulting in a diverse and disparate array of installed technologies.This paper summarizes the vision, benefits, strategy, and business considerations of microgrid solutions.