A Signal that the Microgrid Market is about to Pop

May 22, 2014
How soon will the microgrid market take off in the United States? The formation of two new advocacy groups – with credible backers – signals microgrids are well on their way. Electricity is a heavily regulated product, and innovations undergo a great deal of government mulling before they enter the market enforce. Advocacy groups provide important education and input that moves the process forward.

To the consumer, the microgrid market will simply appear one day. Like the IPhone or the Kindle or solar panels, it will be the latest cool wonder of our high tech society.

But those behind the scenes know that most products are many years in the making. Electricity innovation is no different, except perhaps that industry gestation requires a lot of government mulling. Electricity is a heavily regulated product.

That’s why the formation of not one, but two microgrid policy advocacy groups, signals to us that the microgrid market is about to pop.  Last week, the Microgrid Alliance (MGA) announced its creation. Another group, the Microgrid Resources Coalition (MRC) did the same in February.

What’s interesting here, though, is not that they formed, but who formed them.

One of MRC’s creators is the International District Energy Association (IDEA), a 105-year group with a worldwide track record for promoting district energy and combined heat and power – technologies often found in microgrids.   The organization is led by Rob Thornton, known as an effective coalition builder. MRC’s other founders are several well-known names: Princeton University, NRG Energy, ICETEC Energy Services, Concord Engineering.

MGA emerged out of the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid. Although younger than IDEA, ADS has been in the thick of pushing the new smart grid technologies, also often found in microgrids. The group is led by Dan Delurey, known for his ability to invigorate debate. Founding members include General MicroGrids, Landis+Gyr, Homer Energy, Alstom, Enbala, EarthSpark International, ESTA International, and Green Energy Corp.

The formation of these groups – both born out of credible organizations – bodes well for the emerging microgrid market in the United States.

Expect to see increasing state and federal regulatory and policy action on microgrids in the coming months. EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com details the issues thats are emerging in key states in a new guide. “Think Microgrid: A Discussion Guide for Policymakers, Regulators and End Users,” available for free download at ThinkMicrogrid.com. We’ll also publish a series of excerpts from the guide over the coming weeks. The first is here.

What will the microgrid market look like in the future? Read here what Terry Mohn, MGA chairman and CEO of General MicroGrids, has to say. And what do microgrids need from policymakers now? Listen to this podcast with IDEA’s Rob Thornton.

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

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