Microgrids: An alternative solution to aging transmission infrastructure?
- Jul 1, 2021 1:01 am GMT
Utilities, generators, residents and transmission industry nerds rejoiced when Biden announced his plan to address the country's aging and outdated transmission lines with massive investment into new infrastructure. While necessary, transmission got more attention than an alternative solution to aging and lengthy transmission lines: microgrids.
Microgrids are becoming major players in energy resilience. Pacific Gas & Electric, still living under the memory of last year's rolling blackouts during the summer heatwave, has bought into the microgrid solution, as have tribunal communities in the Golden State.
It appears, too, that the Biden Administration might be hip to the technology, at least in an adjacent way. According to Microgrid Knowledge, some of the American Jobs Plan money, about $50 billion, is set aside to improve infrastructure resilience to communities vulnerable to natural disasters.
"Some of that funding would increase spending for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program, a grant source some towns and cities plan to use for microgrid development," one article says.
The transmission community has done well to lobby for a focus on its role in the energy ecosystem. This is good because we're not at the stage yet where we can expect to go wireless. But there is a path for us to use less wire, and microgrids can lead us down that path.