The 2019 Microgrid Knowledge conference in San Diego, California brought together developers, utilities, technology firms, and end-users to learn and share the latest in microgrids. Sessions gave attendees insight into new technologies, models, and financing schemes.
- Many discussions touched upon resiliency, as stakeholders looked to reach a common understanding of the resiliency value microgrids provide. Presenters frequently cited resiliency as their customers’ primary value driver, however, assigning a price to resiliency is an issue still without an established framework.
- A common refrain was “If you’ve seen one microgrid, you’ve seen one microgrid.” Attendees agreed that microgrid solutions are often bespoke and built to serve unique customer needs.
- A third industry trend recognized by attendees was the increasing amount of utility involvement in microgrids. One utility leader estimated that from a base of 10% 5 years ago, 40-50% of microgrids built today involve utilities.
GI Energy’s Contribution
Our Chief Development Officer Dave Yanni spoke on two panels. We were delighted to discuss the role of microgrids for Real Estate customers with our client Jonathan Scharfman of Universal Paragon Corporation – as a real estate developer his perspective was particularly valuable.
Separately, we were also involved in discussion of the potential role of utilities as microgrid owners and operators. There was broad agreement on several topics, including the need to address grid equity as microgrid penetration increases. Panelists discussed the increasing prevalence of grid outage events, such as outages planned during California’s fire season. Stakeholders agreed that, considering these outage events, industry players should endeavor to ensure reliability for all customers, not just those financially able to build dedicated microgrids. GIE expects regulations and tariff structures, such as those called for in California’s Senate Bill 1339, will evolve to address equity concerns as the microgrid market matures.