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Energy News Network: Sharing systems could help building owners get more from microgrids

Posted by Kevin Stark on Jan 3, 2019

In this article Energy News Network looks at the potential for shared microgrids like the one recently established on Chicago’s Museum Campus. AEE's Ryan Katofsky shares his perspective. See excerpts below and the entire Energy News Network story here:

Shared microgrids can help building owners lower costs and boost resilience, but big questions need to be sorted out first on how the systems operate. 

While still a fledgling market, shared microgrids — sometimes called multi-user microgrids — are gaining increased attention from researchers and industry players. As with single-user microgrids, the systems combine some type of energy storage and generation with technology that allows them to separate from the larger grid in the event of a power outage or other disruption.

Still, questions remain about who benefits from the cost savings and who manages such systems. And there are lots of thorny distribution contract questions to be sorted out, too…

“Frankly, it’s uncharted territory,” said Ryan Katofsky, vice president of industry analysis at Advanced Energy Economy, a clean energy business group. “You’ve got multiple customers; they might each have some resources on their own property. Some might have rooftop solar, one might have a fuel cell in the basement, and another one might have a different kind of sophisticated load control system. The challenge then becomes: How do you sort of coordinate the operations of all of those resources?”

Who owns and operates the different components of the microgrid? Who makes the decisions when to island? “There are going to be communications with the utility and contractual arrangements,” he said. “The utility might provide some of the equipment, if it’s on their side of the meter. A customer or a third party might provide equipment if it’s on the customer side of the meter…”

See the complete Energy News Network story here.

Topics: AEE In The News