Why Don’t More Companies Use Microgrids in their Climate Disaster Plans?

Oct. 5, 2021
Wondering why more companies aren’t incorporating microgrids into their climate disaster plans? The answer may be pretty simple. They still don’t know what microgrids are, according to new research by Schneider Electric.

Wondering why more companies aren’t incorporating microgrids into their climate disaster plans? The answer may be pretty simple. They still don’t know what microgrids are.

That’s one of the findings from research released today by Schneider Electric about how organizations are transforming their business models in response to climate change.

Schneider, one of the most active companies in the microgrid arena, in September and October surveyed 100 global companies earning more than $250 million in annual revenue about their familiarity with various climate-related technologies and strategies.

The good news? Companies know more about microgrids than they do biomimicry. The bad news? They know less about microgrids than a lot of other climate strategies, among them B Corp adoption or alignment, net-zero aligned operations and value chain, and prosumerism.

Schneider points out a big problem the results revealed — businesses lack knowledge about the practical solutions that can help them immediately begin decarbonizing. Some of the “most immediately available and effective climate action solutions” — such as microgrids and renewable energy — are less understood, the company wrote in a release that accompanied the results.

“While we are delighted to see that many major organizations are actively thinking about climate change and the risks it poses to their business, we were surprised to learn that familiarity with readily available and practical solutions to reduce carbon emissions is mixed. In order for organizations to truly transform their business, it is critical to go beyond traditional methods of energy management and business practices, and leverage the latest technologies and solutions to drive bold and measurable decarbonization outcomes,” said Susan Uthayakumar, president of Schneider Electric’s Sustainability Business Division.

The findings echo research done by the Civil Society Institute that mined US voters for their thoughts about microgrids. It turned out that voters, too, were largely unfamiliar with the technology — although when they learned about microgrids they expressed support for them.

Business Model Transformation Databook: 2021 Report. Courtesy of Schneider Electric

The Schneider survey also found that organizations are actively thinking about climate change and how to modernize their energy management to prepare. Most of those interviewed had identified climate risks to their operations — only 3% believe their operations are not at risk. Yet only 7% have completely transformed their business in anticipation of future environmental or social challenges and only 21% consider their organization to have advanced significantly in making their business model more environmentally or socially responsive.

Schneider, which was recognized earlier this year by the Corporate Knights Global 100 Index as the world’s most sustainable corporation, said the findings show the complexity and scope of the climate challenge, something that cannot be addressed by a single organization, industry, country or government.

 ​​Track news about the use of microgrids in climate disaster plans. Subscribe to the free Microgrid Knowledge Newsletter.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

LinkedIn: Elisa Wood

Facebook:  Microgrids


Designing Microgrids: Evaluating Parameters for Reliable, Cost-Effective and Optimized Power Solutions

Dec. 7, 2023
Shawn Dalke electrical engineer at Mesa Solutions discusses load profiles and power sources for microgrids.

Get the full report.

The Lesser-Known Benefits of a Microgrid

Whether connected or disconnected to the grid, a microgrid provides more than just reliable energy. Mesa Solutions outlines some of the lesser-known benefits of a microgrid including...