NASEO, NARUC publish report examining the role of microgrids in resilient grids

Published on May 11, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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A new report examines the role of microgrids in meeting the resilience objectives and looks at what states can do to facilitate resilient microgrid investments.

With more and more natural and man-made events impacting the energy system — including winter storms, cyberattacks, and drought — state energy offices and public utility commissions are critical players in developing policy and regulatory actions that help enhance the resilience of the electric grid. One way is through microgrids.

The report, released by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), offers some specific recommendations on how states can use microgrids to meet their resilience objectives. Some of the considerations include gathering data on microgrid performance, convening stakeholders to share how they value resilience, and monitoring the release of tools in development by the National Labs and other researchers.

Converge Strategies assisted NASEO and NARUC with the development of the report called “Valuing Resilience for Microgrids: Challenges, Innovative Approaches, and State Needs.”

Resilience — an electricity system’s response to a disruption — is a key consideration to guide electricity spending, whether from utilities, customers, or taxpayers. Developing tools and methods to accurately assess the costs and benefits of resilience investments is critical to mitigating the impacts of outages, the report said.

“Although no universally accepted valuation tool for resilience exists, National Laboratories, utilities, researchers, and state and federal agencies have collaborated to develop, apply, and improve a number of approaches to quantify resilience, several of which are still in progress at the time this report is published. This report seeks to share these important advances by discussing current definitions of resilience, how microgrids are defined and used to meet resilience objectives, new approaches to valuing resilience, steps State Energy Offices and PUCs have taken to further resilience valuation efforts, and finally, considerations and suggested next steps for State Energy Offices and PUCs,” the executive summary of the report reads.

Examples of specific microgrid projects and resilience valuation efforts are included throughout the report. While it is written specifically for NASEO and NARUC members, it may be useful for utilities, local governments, and individual customers interested in improving the way public and private dollars are spent to achieve resilience outcomes.