Editor's Take: Making the Grade and Committing to the Value of Microgrids

Nov. 3, 2023
The Think Microgrid report is not political, and the rankings of some states will surprise you. It’s the group’s goal to evenly evaluate where states are are. Meanwhile, the United States Air Force and other military branches certainly “think microgrid.”

Fledgling industries sometimes give a pass to jurisdictions as they strive to create market knowledge and good will. Once momentum is achieved but roadblocks remain, it seems perfectly fair to offer constructive criticisms and evaluations for better paths forward, particularly if the service offered provides a mission-critical value.

Microgrids do that. This week, we covered advocacy group Think Microgrid’s State Scorecard, which gives grades to all the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Think Microgrid is clearly pro-industry, but you’ll find the report is not afraid to evaluate critically at the policy level. Only four states rated above average grades in the Scorecard, garnering Bs, while nearly all were handed out Cs and a handful with Ds. No As in the bunch. Tough taskmaster.

Clearly, the microgrid industry has made great strides over the past 20 years and, in particular, the last five years. Distributed energy and microgrid capacity is booming, and yet some states’ regulatory and utility entities are uncertain about how to maximize the potential for microgrids, sometimes even impeding the momentum.

You’ll see that the Think Microgrid report is not political, and the rankings of some states will surprise you. It’s the group’s goal to evenly evaluate where states are and perhaps nudge them to move in more positive directions to elevate microgrids from fledgling to mission critical, which they are.

The United States Air Force and other military branches certainly “think microgrid.” A cursory search of Microgrid Knowledge will pull up close to a dozen recent stories on new microgrids at bases all around the nation and world.

The military gets the value of microgrids and is committed to pouring funds into installations to protect its energy needs. The scorecard is simply trying to inspire many states to do better and realize their full potential.

About the Author

Rod Walton, Managing Editor | Managing Editor

For Microgrid Knowledge editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

I’ve spent the last 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. I was an energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World before moving to business-to-business media at PennWell Publishing, which later became Clarion Events, where I covered the electric power industry. I joined Endeavor Business Media in November 2021 to help launch EnergyTech, one of the company’s newest media brands. I joined Microgrid Knowledge in July 2023. 

I earned my Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. My career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World, all in Oklahoma . I have been married to Laura for the past 33-plus years and we have four children and one adorable granddaughter. We want the energy transition to make their lives better in the future. 

Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech are focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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