Utility Distribution Microgrids

Electric utilities’ approaches to integrating distributed energy resources using microgrids have varied widely in recent years. Some companies view utility distribution microgrids with a skeptical eye at best, and at worst as an existential threat to their traditional business models. Meanwhile, a handful of utility innovators are moving forward with microgrid projects despite significant institutional bias and regulatory obstacles, leveraging a wide range of smart grid technologies and utilizing new architectures to pursue creative solutions for the integration of renewable energy, the improvement of grid reliability, and the reduction of peak load. These early adopters are heralding a future in which microgrids will become a more prevalent part of the distribution utility landscape.

North America represents the largest market for all microgrid segments in terms of aggregate capacity, including utility distribution microgrids. Key drivers of microgrid adoption in the region include pockets of poor power quality and the structure of behind-the-meter markets for distributed energy resources. Pike Research also anticipates that the Asia Pacific region will be a world leader in terms of utility distribution microgrid revenues, due in large part to the rapid growth of renewable distributed energy generation and the interwoven relationships between municipal governments, state-run grids, and government-owned distribution utilities.

This Pike Research report analyzes the global market opportunity for utility distribution microgrids, including applications for investor-owned utilities, public power entities, and remote utility networks. The study includes a comprehensive assessment of the market drivers and challenges, technology issues, and economics of operating microgrids in grid-tied utility environments around the world. Key industry players are profiled in depth, and market forecasts for capacity and revenue are provided by utility type and region through 2018.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • Why are government utilities more advanced with UDMs than private utilities?
  • Which key hardware components are necessary for utility distribution microgrids?
  • Which developers and vendors are focused on this microgrid subsegment?
  • What are the key market drivers for utilities to move forward with microgrids?
  • How does one measure the benefits of UDMs for utility grid operations?