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Why Customers are Demanding Microgrids

This week, Lisa Cohn of Microgrid Knowledge posted an extremely insightful article, detailing the results from a national survey found in "Deloitte Resources 2020 Study". " Conducted in February, the study is based on more than 1,500 online interviews with residential utility customers and 600 online interviews with businesses located nationally that employ more than 250 people. The study documented increases in consumer and business concern about climate change, as well as an uptick in pressure on businesses from their customers to take action on climate change." Key points are seen below: 

For Businesses: 

  • 44% of respondents have considered investing in microgrids for their facility.
  • 54% of those respondents those who expressed interests in microgrids did so because of critical operations that require uninterrupted power supply. 
  • 51% of those respondents who expressed interests in microgrids have experienced an increase in power outages.
  • 52% of respondents said they are concerned about interruption to their electricity supply due to a cyber-security event on the electrical grid. 
  • 60% of respondents already have some form of on-site generation, as it "provides resilience, price certainty, energy supply diversification and cost savings."
  • 75% of respondents believe that customers want them to acquire and incorporate renewable energy into their business's energy portfolio.
  • 51% of respondents stated that they are working to acquire more electricity from renwables, through either on-site generation, power purchase agreements (PPA)s, or virtual PPAs.
  • 60% of respondents expressed that they feel an increase in pressure from stakeholders to address climate risks. 

For Homeowners: 

  • 37% of respondents said they are concerned about interruption to their electricity supply due to a cyber-security event on the electrical grid. 
  • 80% of respondents believe corporate America has a responsibility to address climate change. 
  • 65% of respondents believe renewable energy development will boos the national economy. 
  • 68% of respondents are concerned about climate change. For millennial respondents, the percentage is 81%. 
  • 80% of respondents said they strongly agree corporate America has to address climate change. 
  • More than half of respondents would consider solar, if paired with batteries, and consider the solar plus battery solution as a way to save and shore up resilience. 
  • Nearly half of respondents expressed a concern on outages from natural disasters or storms. 

Truly, the Deloitte survey reports compelling data and makes the case for further investment in the Microgrid industry. As time progresses, especially due to continued and exaggerated wildfire seasons in California as a catalyst for microgrid growth across the United States, the call for microgrids is likely only going to become louder and more pronounced. 

With every preventative power outage and commissioned diesel generator, regulators and citizens alike feel the pressure for finding something better. As stated in's article Microgrids: A Powerful Modern Tool for Wildfire Management:

"In 2019 the reality of persistent wildfire risk led California utilities to implement preventative blackouts as a way to eliminate the risk of grid equipment sparking fires. While these proactive measures reduced the threat of wildfires, they disrupted countless businesses and posed their own threats to health and safety.

For example, life-threatening complications can arise when critical facilities such as hospitals, fire stations and police stations experience prolonged power outages. A report by the Manhattan Institute estimates also that the October 9-12, 2019 PG&E shutoffs imposed costs totaling between $850 million and $1.7 billion on the 750,000 customers impacted in return for $500 million in benefits.

While proactive outages will continue to be used this fire season, PG&E also plans to deploy up to 450 megawatts of mobile diesel generators to deliver backup power. Taken together, though, it has been proven that these solutions aren’t sustainable over the long term and don’t fully leverage the dramatic advances that have been made in renewable energy, battery storage and digitalization.

'If you look at the solutions being deployed, which is to turn off power and send diesel to remote locations, that is very much a 1970 answer to a 2020 problem,' said Mark Feasel, president of smart grid for Schneider Electric North America. 'We have the opportunity to embrace this digitized, decentralized and decarbonized approach.' 

Improved economics and technology have made microgrids a viable solution to deliver digitized, decarbonized and decentralized backup power. In fact, supply-chain disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have only underscored the importance of microgrids’ ability to provide onsite renewable generation."

In the presence of this increased consumer and practical demand for resiliency, grid stabilization, and environmental stewardship through the commissioning of more microgrids, businesses must be ready to commit to decisive collaboration to fulfill this need. Scaleable, deployable, and financeable microgrids are needed now, and Instant ON is committed to ensuring these solutions find their way to the public. 

For more information about IO's approach, contact Instant ON here

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