Core Sector: Energy Resources and the Environment


As threats to reliable electricity continue to grow, customers, utilities, and governments are looking to distributed energy resources and microgrids as a potential solution. However, microgrids are highly specialized and complex, and lead to questions around ownership and operation, cost allocation, distribution of benefits, siting and configuration, and more.

NARUC, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) established a Microgrids State Working Group to improve the ability of states to plan for and develop microgrid projects, regulations, and policies. The Working Group convenes state regulators, state energy officials, and other stakeholders to explore the costs and benefits of microgrids, understand the value of resilience from microgrids, and identify and address barriers to microgrid development.

  • Webinar: State Microgrid Policy, Programmatic, and Regulatory Framework, Sept. 1, 2023
    In August 2023, NASEO and NARUC released a new report entitled "State Microgrid Policy, Programmatic, and Regulatory Framework." This report walks through the steps State Energy Offices and public utility commissions commonly undertake to plan and implement microgrid initiatives, using existing programs to illustrate varying state approaches. On this webinar, NASEO and NARUC staff authors discussed the framework and share how it can serve as an aid to state-level decisionmakers considering actions to facilitate microgrid deployment.

    Watch recording
    Download slides

  • Report: State Microgrid Policy, Programmatic, and Regulatory Framework, August 2023
    View press release
    View interactive report
    Download report PDF
    NARUC and NASEO have released a new resource for public utility commissions and State Energy Offices as they develop policies, regulations and programs to support microgrids. The goals of this framework are to foster productive collaboration among state entities and help them anticipate questions they may encounter as they plan and implement microgrid policies, programs, and regulations. To help achieve these goals, the report provides relevant microgrid background information for State Energy Offices and PUC consideration, regardless of their state’s microgrid landscape, through examples from peers as states across the country have implemented varying strategies to enable microgrids.
  • Report: Clean Energy Microgrids: Considerations for State Energy Offices and Public Utility Commissions to Increase Resilience, Reduce Emissions, and Improve Affordability, June 2023
    Clean energy microgrids can provide different benefits and services to critical infrastructure, disadvantaged communities, higher learning institutions and other electric consumers, including decarbonization, increased resilience, cost savings and grid efficiency. State Energy Offices and public utility commissions play an important role in supporting and implementing different regulatory, programmatic and policy actions to support the development and deployment of clean energy microgrids and in addressing some of the affordability, cost and technological challenges.

    Along with outlining the benefits and challenges of clean energy microgrids, the report offers economic and cost considerations for clean energy microgrid development. It also delves into the necessary technological components of a clean energy microgrid and highlights current and future clean technologies that are becoming increasingly more cost effective and competitive. The report concludes with policy and regulatory considerations for State Energy Offices and public utility commissions to assist in the deployment of clean energy microgrids.

  • Webinar: Innovative Microgrid Project Designs, March 29, 2023
    States are looking at different opportunities to utilize innovative microgrid projects to achieve several state policy objectives and key energy resilience needs. This webinar provided insights into two of those unique microgrid approaches and highlight the technology, financing models, the role of the state, and purpose of the project. Speakers discussed California’s clean hydrogen powered microgrid and Iowa’s mobile microgrid. Each of these projects enhance system resilience and utilize clean energy sources.

    Watch recording
    Download slides

  • Webinar: Risk-controlled Expansion Planning With Distributed Resources (REPAIR), November 1, 2022

    On this webinar, Miguel Heleno, Research Scientist – Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division, at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, detailed his work with REPAIR, a grid planning tool that optimizes utility investments by considering risks associated with routine failures and extreme events. The REPAIR tool is useful as a risk assessment tool to help calculate the cost-benefit ratio from resilience investments, including microgrids. Following an overview presentation from Miguel, State Working Group members shared comments on benefits and challenges to applying valuation tools in regulatory and programmatic work.

    Watch recording
  • Webinar: Microgrids for Community and City Resilience Planning, June 23, 2022
    As states look for opportunities to reinforce critical facilities and keep the lights on, local planning efforts are often top of mind. State Energy Offices and Public Utility Commissions can play a key role in helping develop local energy plans and share resources on opportunities to integrate microgrids into decarbonization and resilience goals. There are efforts under way to develop frameworks for cities that focus on local resilience projects and methods to achieve decarbonization and reliability goals with microgrids. During this webinar, speakers discussed opportunities for states to engage with cities and communities in the development of local energy resilience plans and foster public-private partnerships to bring these plans to fruition.

    Watch recording

  • Webinar: Valuing Resilience and Supporting Renewable Energy Microgrids, March 10, 2022
    NARUC and NASEO staff and partners shared overviews of two reports being published in spring 2022 under the NASEO-NARUC Microgrids State Working Group and answered questions from the audience.

    Download slides
    Watch recording

  • Report: Valuing Resilience for Microgrids: Challenges, Innovative Approaches, and State Needs, February 2022
    View press release
    As State Energy Offices and public utility commissions aim to maximize the benefits of taxpayer and ratepayer investments in energy infrastructure, robust methods to quantify and compare the benefits of various investment options are needed to make optimal decisions. The paper summarizes five new and pending resilience valuation approaches developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Edison Electric Institute and Commonwealth Edison; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Buffalo; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Webinar: Microgrid State Working Group IIJA Briefing and State Roundtable, December 17, 2021
    NARUC and NASEO welcomed Cameron Brooks, Executive Director of Think Microgrid, for a briefing on provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act related to microgrids and resilience. Following the briefing, members of the Microgrids State Working Group shared updates on microgrid programs and challenges in their states.

    Download Think Microgrid IIJA Overview
    Download Think Microgrid Presentation

  • Webinar: Microgrid Tariff Development in Hawaii and California, September 8, 2021
    In early 2021, California and Hawaii became the first states to approve microgrid tariffs for major investor-owned utilities. Microgrid tariffs are meant to ensure fair compensation for services provided by microgrids while avoiding cost-shifting to customers who do not benefit from projects, thereby reducing barriers and providing financial certainty to microgrid development. On this webinar, staff from the California and Hawaii public utility commissions will share commission objectives for microgrid tariffs, the tariff development process, and next steps in both states. Commissions and energy offices in other states can gain an understanding of the importance of tariff development, successful strategies, and lessons learned from these two early actors.

    Download presentations
    Watch recording

  • Webinar: Microgrids for Low- to Moderate-Income Communities, June 24, 2021
    As many states and the federal government are focusing more and more on equity and environmental justice considerations of energy policy decisions, several microgrid projects have been implemented or are being planned that specifically focus on low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities. During this webinar, speakers discussed completed and envisioned microgrid projects for LMI communities, the unique characteristics and challenges of these projects, and considerations for state regulators and state energy offices. Following the webinar, NARUC and NASEO members received an update from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.

    Download presentations
    Watch recording

  • Webinar: Strategies for Resilient Microgrid Deployment, April 7, 2021
    Natural disasters and severe weather events have increased in both magnitude and frequency in recent years posing a serious threat to the electric power system and emphasizing the need for a more resilient grid. One way regulators and state energy officials are looking to increase resilience is by strategically deploying microgrids to provide backup power to critical facilities in the event of a power outage. During this webinar, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) and Kentucky Office of Energy Policy will present the findings from their recent study on microgrid deployment strategies in Kentucky and how these strategies can be replicated in other states to enhance resilience.

    Download presentations
    Watch recording

  • Webinar: NARUC-NASEO Briefing Reports on Microgrid Financing and Use Cases, March 3, 2021
    NARUC and NASEO released two new reports on design approaches and funding and financing options for states to consider in actions they take to support microgrid deployment. On March 3, NARUC and NASEO staff will present highlights and key takeaways from these papers and answer questions from the audience. User Objectives and Design Approaches for Microgrids: Options for Delivering Reliability and Resilience, Clean Energy, Energy Savings, and Other Priorities explores customer motivations to install microgrids, and discusses how each one impacts the design of a microgrid. The companion paper, Private, State, and Federal Funding and Financing Options to Enable Resilient, Affordable, and Clean Microgrids, outlines potential options to fund and finance microgrid development.

    Download presentations
    Watch recording

  • User Objectives and Design Approaches for Microgrids: Options for Delivering Reliability and Resilience, Clean Energy, Energy Savings, and Other Priorities, January 2021
    Download executive summary
    Public and private sector entities choose to install microgrids based on a range of motivations, which often include increasing reliability and resilience of critical loads, decreasing electricity costs, integrating clean energy and/or providing power to remote or island communities. This report explores each of these motivations and discusses how each one impacts the design of a microgrid. NARUC and NASEO leveraged Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model to illustrate how objectives translate into design and operational decisions.
  • Private, State, and Federal Funding and Financing Options to Enable Resilient, Affordable, and Clean Microgrids, January 2021
    Download executive summary
    This report outlines potential options to fund and finance microgrid development. Significant upfront costs and unclear valuation of benefits pose challenges for public and private-sector entities interested in developing microgrids. However, microgrids offer a variety of value streams that developers can leverage to mitigate financial risk and make projects more compelling for investors.
  • Webinar: Achieving Community Resilience through Microgrids, January 13, 2021

    Improving reliability and resilience is a key driver of microgrid adoption. Community microgrids that provide power to municipally-owned or publicly-accessible buildings can benefit those connected buildings by delivering power and energy services during normal conditions and outages, as well as enable community members who can use the microgrid to access reliable energy during an outage. This webinar will highlight microgrid projects that have successfully provided resilience benefits to surrounding communities during power outages, including public safety power shutoffs. Panelists will address the following questions: What input did the community offer to shape the microgrids; how were those microgrids funded; who owns, operates, and maintains the microgrids; which revenue streams are making those microgrids pay off; and how are resilience services valued?

    Download presentations
    Watch recording

  • Webinar: Utility Microgrid Procurement, August 19, 2020
    As more customers and communities look to improve their energy resilience, regulated electric utilities are considering various options, including microgrids, to meet these needs. However, microgrids raise complicated questions about procurement models, ownership structures, and operational issues. On this webinar, speakers from regulated utilities highlighted successful projects and partnerships, shared lessons learned, and discussed challenges and growth opportunities for microgrids.

    Download presentations
    Watch recording

  • Webinar: Getting Microgrids to Market - Regulatory and Business Models for Resilience, July 1, 2020
    Residential, commercial, and industrial customers are increasingly looking at investment options to improve energy resilience, including microgrids. On this webinar, two leading distributed energy resource installers will discuss their visions for regulatory and business models to enable microgrid investments, centering on energy-as-a-service and neighborhood microgrids / distribution islands. Moderator: Commissioner Diane X. Burman, New York State Public Service Commission. Speakers: Jeff Morris and Mark Feasel, Schneider Electric; Anne Hoskins and Tefford Reed, Sunrun.

    Download presentations
    Watch recording

  • Webinar: Microgrid Planning and Deployment for Community Resilience, May 20, 2020
    Recent extreme weather events in the Pacific, Gulf coast and Caribbean, and wildfires in California have highlighted the need for customer, community and utility resilience. In 2019, 14 natural disasters caused over $1B of damages each. These disasters included severe weather events, hail storms, wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes and earthquakes, all of which can threaten the reliability and stability of the electric power system. Microgrids are one tool that can provide sought after solutions to power critical systems and facilitate the integration of distributed energy resources (DERs). Planning microgrid projects positioned throughout the community to provide resilient power is a key component of a holistic resilience strategy. Speakers: Jared Leader, Smart Electric Power Alliance; Russell Ragsdale, Southern California Edison; and Adam Schultz, Oregon Department of Energy.

    Download presentations
    Watch recording

  • NARUC-NASEO Microgrids State Working Group Resource Repository
    Microgrids can provide reliable, resilient, affordable, and efficient electric power to critical infrastructure and electricity consumers. However, microgrid cost-benefit considerations and competing policy and regulatory goals present both opportunities and barriers to maximizing their value. Over the past several years, some State Energy Offices (SEOs) and Public Utility Commissions (PUCs) have explored and learned from various microgrid applications, but many information, research, investment, and policy and regulatory gaps remain. To address these issues and enable microgrids to deliver benefits to the public, NARUC and NASEO have formed the Microgrids State Working Group to share public- and private-sector best practices to advance beneficial microgrid development and take advantage of technical expertise from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

    The Working Group is hosting facilitated discussions between SEOs and PUCs to explore microgrid technologies and applications, policy and regulatory frameworks, and financing models to understand the full range of benefits that microgrids can provide to owners / operators, ratepayers, and other stakeholders. A key objective of the Working Group is to highlight and draw lessons from existing microgrid projects. NARUC and NASEO are jointly leading this work in close collaboration with the DOE Office of Electricity and are relying on state input to guide this collaborative initiative.

  • Microgrid Action Planning Workshop, Oct. 3 - 4, 2023
    Bethesda, MD

    NASEO and NARUC held a 1½ -day, in-person workshop and site visit that convened state policymakers, industry, the federal government, local governments, and other key stakeholders to discuss how state policies, programs, and regulations can accelerate the deployment of microgrid technologies.

    The objectives of this workshop were to:

    • Convene State Energy Offices and Public Utility Commissions for peer sharing and information exchange on the programmatic, policy, and regulatory opportunities and barriers for microgrids development
    • Spotlight innovative state actions that have led to successful microgrid installations
    • Conduct action planning and identify next steps for State Energy Offices and Public Utility Commissions to accelerate deployment of microgrids in support of other state priorities such as grid resilience and transportation electrification

    The event began with a tour of the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot, an innovative microgrid project that was supported by State Energy Office funding.

  • Microgrids SWG Workshop, March 29 - 30, 2022, 1:00 - 4:30 pm ET
    Held virtually
    View summary
    NARUC and NASEO invited members of the Microgrids State Working Group to a two-day, virtual workshop designed to enable State Energy Offices and public utility commissions to engage with peers across the country regarding successful microgrid programs and regulatory efforts. SEPA supported NARUC and NASEO in planning and facilitating this workshop.
  • Enhancing Microgrid Deployment across the States: A NARUC-NASEO Microgrid State Working Group Roundtable, Washington, DC, February 12 – 13, 2020
    Public utility commissioners, state energy officials, and other stakeholders participated in an interactive roundtable on microgrid deployment as part of the NARUC-NASEO Microgrids State Working Group. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity, the working group seeks to advance microgrid development by improving state decision-makers’ understanding of the costs and benefits of microgrids and identifying and addressing regulatory, policy, and market barriers.

    The roundtable featured a discussion of lessons learned from microgrid projects and policies in Rhode Island, Illinois, California, and New Jersey; an exploration of state challenges and needs; and facilitated breakout discussions on different models for ownership and operation of microgrids, microgrid financing, utility roles in microgrid development, and valuing the resilience benefits of microgrid projects. Federal experts from Sandia National Laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Environmental Protection Agency also shared tools and resources with state participants.

    See workshop summary, presentations, and recordings (Day 1 and Day 2).


NARUC is grateful to the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity for funding the Microgrids State Working Group, which enables the resources and activities described on this webpage.

NARUC and NASEO Microgrids State Working Group Members

  • Arizona Corporation Commission
  • California Public Utility Commission
  • California Energy Commission
  • Colorado Public Utilities Commission
  • Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • District of Columbia Public Service Commission
  • District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment
  • Hawaii Public Utilities Commission
  • Hawaii State Energy Office
  • Idaho Governor's Office of Energy and Mineral Resources
  • Illinois Commerce Commission
  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Energy
  • Iowa Economic Development Authority
  • Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
  • Maryland Energy Administration
  • Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities
  • Michigan Public Utilities Commission
  • Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Mississippi Public Service Commission
  • New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
  • New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department
  • New York Public Service Commission
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
  • North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
  • North Carolina Utilities Commission
  • Oregon Public Utility Commission
  • Oregon Department of Energy
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce
  • Puerto Rico Energy Board
  • Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
  • South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff
  • Tennessee Office of Energy Programs
  • Vermont Department of Public Service
  • Vermont Public Utility Commission
  • Virgin Islands Energy Office
  • Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
  • Washington Department of Commerce
  • West Virginia Office of Energy
  • Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation
  • Wyoming Public Service Commission
  • Wyoming Energy Authority

NARUC staff experts who support these activities: