Microgrids as the Right Thing to do

Feb. 7, 2017
When you ask someone why they support microgrids, don’t be surprised if they say it’s because they see microgrids as the right thing to do. Here’s what the mean by that.

In my more than 20 years writing about energy – most recently microgrids — I’ve often been struck by the altruism that energy insiders bring to their work.

Courtesy of African Mini Grid

Yes, the profit motive drives them. But they also feel strongly about what they do. They know the profound impact electric power has on jobs, the economy, living standards, and overall human well-being. Their work is often their cause.

So perhaps it’s not a surprise that when asked why they support microgrids, so many shrug and simply describe microgrids as the right thing to do.

Pre-microgrid, when the phrase “the right thing to do” was used in energy circles, it tended to mean it’s the right thing for the environment. But microgridders are using it to sum up a whole lot more. They are describing a long value stack.

Any given microgrid might offer opportunities to:

  • Provide power to the microgrid’s customers when the larger grid fails. (And for others the microgrid may be a safe haven to travel to where they can find shelter, recharge phones, buy groceries and fuel cars during storms and other disasters.)
  • Reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions
  • Achieve corporate, city or state goals for renewable energy or energy storage
  • Ease energy costs for consumers by leveraging best pricing among the microgrid’s resources and against the grid at any given time
  • Reduce strain on the grid through demand response and peak shaving
  • Make use of waste heat produced by power generators
  • Offer an array of services to strengthen the central grid
  • Improve energy efficiency through more granular management of generation, energy storage and customer resources
  • Provide reliable power in remote areas where there is no electric grid – or none that can be counted on

It’s a long list. And I’m sure there are other microgrid benefits that I’ve forgotten here (Feel free to list them in the comment section below!)

Because we see microgrids as the right thing

Because we see microgrids as the right thing to do, we launched Microgrid Knowledge in 2014. And it’s why we are hosting Microgrid 2017, Nov. 6-8 at Boston’s Park Plaza, in partnership with the respected International District Energy Association, which operates the Microgrid Resources Coalition.

Registration is now open for Microgrid 2017. (Check out the early bird special and volume discounts.)

We hope you will support Microgrid 2017. Much like our highly successful “New York and Beyond” microgrid conference held last year in New York City, this will be the place energy thought leaders gather to advance the microgrid industry.

Microgrid 2017 also will be an excellent venue for hospitals, universities, real estate developers, manufacturers, businesses, communities and others who are interested in learning more about what microgrids can do for them. And be sure to check out the exhibits and the tours of Boston-area microgrids, a city renowned for its microgrid innovation and the promise of more to come.

Microgrid 2017 will be the one event to attend this year for those, like us, who see microgrids as the right thing to do. We expect several hundred people to attend. Look forward to seeing you there! — Elisa Wood, Editor-in-Chief, Microgrid Knowledge

Read more about Microgrid 2017, Nov. 6-8, at the Boston Park Plaza.

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

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