The US electric grid modernization and transition to distributed generation resembles the Chinese Warring States Period of the 5th to 3rd centuries BC. Much like those great generals, the power brokers of today are using stratagems (i.e. a plan or scheme, especially one used to outwit an opponent or achieve an end). “Microgrids” have emerged as focal strategy of the competing parties.
Generally, the spoils of the 21st century “Grid Wars” period will come from re-aggregation of consumers. Microgrids are one form of this re-aggregation, although the term has come to encapsulate the collective technical aspirations of the industry. While useful as shorthand for grid modernization, microgrids are only one of many choices to be considered.
Whatever the choice, Illinois’ approval of ComEd’s $25-million microgrid project and creation of a first-of-its-kind tariff presents an opportunity for consumers and investors to explore. Under the right circumstances, allowing customers to leverage the distribution circuits will create a very strong network attribute. More important will be the technical, financial and regulatory evolutions which will enable new configurations beyond microgrids.
Conversations about the future of our electrical grid are complex. ProtoGen believes the strongest move is to maximize transparency, inclusion, and access. If you need a break from competing interests, ProtoGen can help you organize, unify and enrich your directives.