June 18, 2012
In their earliest forms, microgrids – in which distributed energy resources operate as a single, autonomous grid either in parallel to or isolated from the existing utility power grid – have been operating for decades. These first generation systems relied on manual controls and were typically fueled by dirty fossil fuel generation, i.e., diesel generators. In contrast, the new microgrid paradigm relies more on renewable distributed energy generation, employing IT advances, sophisticated software, and new islanding inverters to network these resources so that they harmonize as a system. According to a recent report from Pike Research, this new technology platform offers customers and distribution utilities a host of new ways to bolster reliability and manage variable, bidirectional resources. It also allows for the reduction of demand during peaks with the most reliable form of demand response (DR) available on the market – the microgrid.
Microgrid capacity worldwide will reach 4.7 gigawatts by 2017, representing $17.3 billion in annual worldwide revenue, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts.
“Microgrids are the ultimate example of energy democracy, because they diversify the ownership of supply infrastructure,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus. “Microgrids can offer a quality and diversity of services that incumbent utilities have not been able to offer up to this point in time. What’s more, the distributed resources on which these systems rely can work together whether they are connected to the larger utility grid or operate in island mode, at the campus or community level.”
For a variety of reasons, North America (and especially the United States) represents the best overall market for microgrids for most application segments – even the lucrative remote/off-grid segment, thanks to Alaska. Key factors include pockets of poor power quality scattered throughout the United States and the structure of markets for distributed energy resources. The latter has stimulated creative aggregation possibilities behind the meter at the retail level of power service. Instead of being driven by grid operators, which is the case in Europe, the microgrid market in the United States is largely customer-driven.
Pike Research’s report, “Microgrids”, analyzes the global market opportunity for microgrids across five key application segments: campus, military, remote, community, and commercial & industrial. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the demand drivers, business models, policy factors, and technology issues associated with the rapidly-developing market for microgrids. Key industry players are profiled in depth and worldwide revenue and capacity forecasts, segmented by application and region, extend through 2017. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
Contact: Richard Martin
+1 303 997 7609