Think Microgrid will host a Policy Summit on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, from 1-5 p.m., co-located with the Microgrid 2022 Conference in Philadelphia. The summit will explore how the renewable energy industry can overcome barriers to microgrid adoption. UL spoke with Think Microgrid Executive Director Cameron Brooks to get a preview of the summit agenda.
As the impacts of climate change become more frequent and severe, two critical priorities have emerged: transitioning to renewable energy resources and developing a new, more decentralized — or distributed — energy paradigm based on solar, wind and battery storage.
According to Think Microgrid Executive Director Cameron Brooks, Microgrids can support the new distributed energy infrastructure in critical ways. However, he noted a significant challenge facing the U.S. in this dramatic shift toward distributed energy generation: Most states have not yet determined how to incorporate this promising technology into energy markets or the physical electric grid. Brooks points to complex barriers to overcome across technical, regulatory and economic spheres.
With the Think Microgrid summit, he aims to create a forum for state and local government officials and industry experts to explore the top-priority issues more deeply. The Policy Summit opens an opportunity for the Think Microgrid coalition to identify ways to foster greater collaboration across the industry and pave the way for new, sustainable technologies to emerge.
Brooks expects the Policy Summit to be an intensely interactive gathering with the following objectives, all aimed at facilitating more rapid implementation of microgrid technology:
- Develop practical recommendations for actions that Think Microgrid and policymakers can lead.
- Identify existing resources that additional users could share.
- Build collaborative alliances and community goodwill through a multi-disciplinary team of public officials, staff, energy advocates and industry leaders.
“There are three great pillars, as I call them, supporting the development of more microgrids,” Brooks said. “The first is resilience. Climate change is here, but microgrids can help us keep the power on when we need it. Secondly, microgrids offer an incredible opportunity to integrate clean, renewable energy into our existing energy infrastructure. This is an incredibly complex task, but we have the tools to do it. Third is the idea of energy equity. There are many areas where we have under-invested in energy, and this is where people are suffering the most. Microgrids can help bring clean energy to everyone.”
To move these pillars forward, the Policy Summit will focus on the following top-priority regulatory and policy issues:
- Valuing resilience
While most public policy officials are now aware of the great financial and human cost of extreme weather events, it’s not yet clear how to put a monetary value on resilience. Valuing resiliency would facilitate utility rate-making and implementation strategies and aid infrastructure planning.
- Developing state resilience plans
Several states leading the way in developing microgrid pilot projects have inventoried critical facilities that would benefit from microgrid solutions. Are those early adopters models for other states, and are there opportunities for collaboration?
- Clean energy
Microgrids support the integration of clean energy into the electric grid via centralized and distributed clean energy resources. What avenues can include microgrids in state legislation as part of a policy strategy that supports clean energy?
- Enabling private microgrids and market access
There are many regulatory and legislative opportunities to promote microgrids. One example is removing the restrictions on power lines that cross multiple properties. Which rules need updating to support a modern electric grid that features distributed renewable energy generation? Are the solutions state-specific, and is there also a federal role?
Participate in the Think Microgrid Policy Summit
Register for the Microgrid 2022 Conference and the Policy Summit is included in your registration fee. The Think Microgrid Policy Summit takes place on May 31, 2022, from 2-5 p.m. and is co-located with the conference.
Save 10% on your registration when you use code HOMERVIP.
Don’t miss our special HOMER Technology Workshop. We’ll present Destination Hybrid Success: Optimizing Microgrids to Deliver Resilience and EV Charging while Cutting Costs and Emissions on June 2, 2:45-3:45 p.m. EDT.
About Think Microgrid
Think Microgrid is a coalition formed in 2021 to help pave the way for the clean energy transition in the U.S. The alliance, which includes more than a dozen leading companies in the microgrid field, represents the industry at the state and federal levels. The organization provides a united voice to support the exploding microgrid sector in critical policy, legislative and regulatory discussions. Learn more about Think Microgrid.