Navigant Identifies 173 More Microgrid Projects, Sees Growth in Solar & CHP Microgrids

June 20, 2017
Navigant Research has identified 173 new microgrid projects worldwide in its Microgrid Deployment Tracker 2Q17, released this week.

Navigant Research has identified 173 new microgrid projects worldwide in its Microgrid Deployment Tracker 2Q17, released this week.

In all, Navigant has found 1,842 microgrids operating, under development, or proposed, representing 19,279.4 MW of capacity globally. In its last tracker, released in December 2016, Navigant had counted 1,681 project entries, representing 16,552.8 MW. That report included 126 new microgrid projects.

The most recent report also includes updates of current projects underway by Schneider Electric, Spirae, and Emerson, among others.

In terms of geography, Asia Pacific jumped ahead of North America in terms of total overall capacity, but North America still leads in number of microgrid projects. North America also remains No. 1 in terms of microgrids that are actually operating (as opposed to in planning or development.) Asia Pacific has the most microgrid capacity under development and proposed, due to a Chinese program expected to come online by 2020, Navigant said.

The new tracker finds commercial and industrial microgrids on the rise, with just over 2 GW of capacity, mostly from the addition of a portfolio of natural gas generator projects in India and China.

The world has more remote microgrids than grid-connected microgrids, in terms of both capacity and number of projects. And the greening of microgrids continues, with the report identifying an additional 500 MW solar microgrids. Diesel capacity remains the lead generation technology in terms of total capacity, though its position is shrinking, Navigant said.

Separately, Navigant also recently found global demand growing for microgrids that use combined heat and power (CHP), a technology known for its high level of efficiency.

The research firm sees microgrid use of CHP prime mover equipment growing from 655 MW in 2017 to 1,906 MW in 2026.

“Modern microgrids are a global phenomenon riding parallel currents of technology, climate, and policy change — and they may represent the biggest new opportunity for CHP in decades,” said Adam Forni, senior research analyst at Navigant Research. “In a growing symbiotic relationship, CHP brings mature baseload generation capability, while microgrids open new markets and improve integration with other distributed energy resources.”

In calculating the CHP microgrid forecast, the research firm aggregated data on five microgrid segments across five regions, with forecasts for capacity and revenue through 2026.

CHP is sought after for its ability to boost energy resilience, better the environment, and lower utility bills. But stumbling blocks exist to its development within microgrids. These include project complexity, interconnection challenges, and concerns about carbon (CHP often uses natural gas which emits carbon dioxide.). Navigant says that industry players who can navigate these shifting forces are being rewarded as demand continues to grow for CHP microgrids.

Track news on microgrid projects by following Microgrid Knowledge on Twitter @MicrogridNews.

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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