Historically, central plants have been an integral part of the electric grid, in which large generating facilities are specifically located either close to fuel resources or otherwise located far from populated load centers [1]. These, in turn, supply the traditional transmission and distribution (T&D) grid that distributes bulk power to load centers and from there to end consumers.

These economies of scale began to fail in the late 1960s and, by the start of the 21st century, central plants could arguably no longer deliver competitively cheap and reliable electricity to more remote customers through the grid. Thus, the grid had become the main driver of remote customers’ power costs and power quality problems, which became more acute as digital equipment required extremely reliable electricity. Efficiency gains no longer come from increasing engineering complexity of large generators, but now from large scale mass production of smaller units located near sites of demand.





Microgrids can be constructed of a combination of resources [2], both loads and generations assets combined into a system which best meets the end consumers usage. Microgrids can also be of any size from kilowatts to megawatts, but usually have two defining characteristics, local control and full functionality both on and off grid.

Local control means the end consumer is empowered to operate the system to their best needs. You are no longer inseparable from the power quality and costs of a sole utility provider. You now have options to leverage differing costs of raw fuels and renewables to reduce your costs, green your business, and reduce your emissions as you see fit.

Full functionality both on and off grid also allows you to separate from the macrogrid during times of outage, if hazardous weather is expected, or if it makes good financial sense to operate standalone.This may also allow for the reduction or complete removal of standard backup power solutions like UPS’s as your entire facility is now backed up inherently. This means no lost costs or down time associated with a utility outage. Ultimate Reliability.





  1. “Distributed Generation—Overview”.  Wikipedia. Retrieved 26 October, 2015.
  2. About Microgrids“.  Microgrids at Berkeley Lab. Retrieved 25 October, 2015.

Microgrids in the News

Microgrid Knowledge

microgrid news, products, policy and players

ultracapacitorBatteries traditionally play the energy storage role. The goal of the Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitor bank installation on the UC San Diego’s microgrid was to see if ultracapacitors can provide a more cost-effective energy storage system for microgrids—and better response time—than batteries. Maxwell Technologies' Jessica Baris explores the ins and outs of the innovative ultracapacitor energy storage system on UC San Diego’s microgrid.
Author: Guest Post
Posted: December 13, 2018, 1:30 pm
microgrid feasibilityBIRD Energy plans to invest $6 million to help fund seven clean energy technology projects, including one to streamline the bottleneck associated with microgrid feasiblity studies.
Author: Andrew Burger
Posted: December 13, 2018, 1:06 pm
NYPAThe New York Power Authority (NYPA) yesterday announced hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for energy storage, demand management, microgrids, electric vehicle charging and other distributed energy resources.
Author: Elisa Wood
Posted: December 12, 2018, 2:00 pm
solar PVAccording to the new Enel X report, the impending change in TOU rate schedules in California came as a "result of a fundamental shift to a more renewable-heavy power generation mix." A new report shows how the state's energy market dynamics are evolving, making energy storage and DERs even more important to California's economy.
Author: Sarah Rubenoff
Posted: December 12, 2018, 1:30 pm
community enclavesA new Homeland Security report calls for creation of microgrid-driven community enclaves as part of a larger safety strategy should the United States experience a catastrophic power failure.
Author: Elisa Wood
Posted: December 11, 2018, 5:18 pm