Ask microgrid companies what’s holding up their progress, and they inevitably place government policy and regulatory guidance high on the list.
Much of today’s electric power regulation was put in place before microgrids were even conceived. So there are few government guideposts that consider microgrids. Imagine trying to drive cars before the rules of the road were established.
Microgrid advocates say that too often government decision makers lack knowledge about microgrids. Many don’t even know what they are.
The good news? That’s beginning to change, and Congress offers an example. California Congressman Jimmy Panetta worked hard to educate his colleagues about microgrids and that led to a microgrid controller tax incentive being included in this year’s Inflation Reduction Act.
On the state level, organizations like Think Microgrid and the Microgrid Resources Coalition are also making inroads.
And, out of Massachusetts this week, comes word that Michael Bakas, executive vice president at Ameresco – a significant player in the microgrid industry – has been appointed to the transition committee of Attorney General-elect Andrea Campbell. (Bakas also serves on the Microgrid Knowledge conference advisory committee.)
Campbell takes office as attorney general on Jan. 18, 2023.
Mass top tier on microgrids but...
Massachusetts scored as a top tier state for advancing microgrids in an assessment released earlier this year by Think Microgrid. The state earned top marks for microgrid deployment and prioritizing resilience. But it came up short (2 out of 3 points) on prioritizing microgrid policy, grid services related to microgrids, and energy equity.
The state has strong microgrid potential – it’s in a hurricane zone, faces severe winters and high energy costs and promotes climate solution policies. And Campbell ran for office on a climate and environmental justice platform, as did Maura Healey, the state’s newly elected governor. So Massachusetts will be a state to watch for progress on microgrids.
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