Microgrid-enabling Technologies Market May Reach $155 Billion in Less than a Decade

Dec. 23, 2014
World-wide investment in microgrid-enabling technologies may reach $155 billion within less than ten years, according to a recent report by Navigant Research. Energy storage is the single technology likely to command the most investment.

Credit: DOE

As demand for microgrids grows, so does the need for microgrid-enabling technologies — the various systems and components that let the microgrid generate power and store it, supply customers, and connect and disconnect from the grid.

These technologies include diesel generators, natural gas generators, fuel cells, solar PV, distributed wind, smart inverters, and energy storage.

World-wide investment in microgrid-enabling technologies may reach $155 billion within less than ten years, according to a recent report by Navigant Research.

“Dramatic change is occurring in the microgrid market, as the economic value that these systems bring to the overall power grid becomes more and more apparent,” said Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.  “We expect the technologies that enable these systems to play key roles in the expansion of the microgrid sector to encompass additional technologies and services related to smart buildings, demand response, distribution and substation automation, and smart meters.”

Navigant describes  microgrids as “a growing phenomenon in the global energy sector” and sees a greater emphasis being placed on the economic value microgrids bring to the entire utility-led central grid.

Perhaps the most noteworthy change happening in the microgrid sector, according to the report, is the investigation of new business models designed to support full commercial implementation of microgrid systems.  Key to this development will be the companies that offer some level of microgrid optimization via smart grid or smart inverter or power electronics.

Navigant sees energy storage as the single largest investment category among microgrid-enabling technologies by 2023. Energy storage, however, remains a less significant market, then the various forms of distributed generation when they are combined. Navigant to see vendor revenue grow from  $1.8 billion in 2014 to $9.6 billion in 2023 for solar, diesel, wind and other forms of DG used in microgrids.

Significant players profiled by Navigant

Large Master Controller and System Integrators: ABB, GE Digital Energy, Lockheed Martin, Schneider Electric, Siemens

DG Innovators: Bloom Energy, Cummins, Northern Power Systems, SunEdison, Tecogen

Smart Islanding Inverters: Princeton Power Systems, SMA Solar Technology

Energy Storage: ViZn Energy Systems, Win Inertia, Younicos

Smart Buildings: Honeywell, Johnson Controls

Smart Switches: S&C Electric Company

Smaller Microgrid Controls Specialists: Encorp, ETAP, Green Energy Corp., IPERC

PEV Charging and Energy Storage Innovators: Boulder Electric Vehicle, Ford, Nissan

A report summary is available here.

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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.

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