Microgrids: Utility Vs. Private Ownership

Microgrids — office parks, college campuses or communities that can generate their own power and disconnect and reconnect from the grid at large at a moment’s notice — could be integral building blocks of the smart grid. That’s why Dave Pacyna, senior vice president of Siemens Energy’s North American transmission and distribution division, sees microgrids as a natural step in utilities’ smart grid plans.

Most microgrids of the future won’t be making and storing enough power to be grid-independent all of the time. Instead, microgrids will maintain a constant and complex relationship with the utility — buying power at some times, selling it back at others, either disconnecting from the grid to avoid a power outage or reconnecting to help the grid balance its way through instabilities, depending on the circumstances. So a central question for the future of microgrids is what will the relationship be with utilities — will it be utilities, or their customers, that pay for them and control them?

Utility cos. better think ahead now for future biz model, if they don’t want to left out..