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Critical Infrastructure, Cybersecurity and Resilience

Microgrids

Critical Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, and Resilience

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: 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.

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  • 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.

  • User Objectives and Design Approaches for Microgrids: Options for Delivering Reliability and Resilience, Clean Energy, Energy Savings, and Other Priorities, January 2021
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    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?

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.


  • 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).

Funder

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

  • California Public Utility Commission
  • California Energy Commission
  • 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
  • Iowa Economic Development Authority
  • Kentucky Public Service Commission
  • Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
  • Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities
  • Michigan Public Utilities Commission
  • New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
  • New York Public Service Commission
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Agency
  • North Carolina Utilities Commission
  • Oregon Public Utility Commission
  • Oregon Department of Energy
  • Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
  • Puerto Rico Energy Board
  • Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
  • South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff
  • Tennessee Office of Energy Programs
  • Vermont Public Utility Commission
  • Vermont Department of Public Service
  • Washington Department of Commerce
  • West Virginia Office of Energy
  • Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation
  • Wyoming Public Service Commission
  • Wyoming Infrastructure Authority

NARUC staff who support these activities include: