In the last few decades, over 2,200 commercial/industrial (C/I) energy users, universities, military bases, and public facilities around the world have implemented microgrids to reduce electric power costs, incorporate clean power (decarbonize), and enhance power reliability. Today, another benefit of the community microgrid has emerged that further strengthens their value proposition: enhanced electric power resilience.
As extreme weather and wildfires increase in intensity and frequency, and the economic cost of power outages grows, local communities increasingly recognize that resilience to extreme events begins at home, at the community level –and that’s where the community microgrid resides. In contrast to most existing microgrids, which each power only one electricity flowing in the area it serves, thereby increasing local community resilience. An extension of this is an “oasis” community microgrid, which encompasses critical community services in the microgrid.
It provides a centralized community refuge – an oasis – during an extreme event. But is it feasible today? Due primarily to various regulatory and institutional barriers, only a handful have been implemented in the U.S. This white paper examines this potential superhero of microgrids.