Moving forward with plans to address the modernization needs of the nation’s electric grid is a vast undertaking, estimated to require some $2 trillion of investment over the next two decades. Providing the electricity that has become so essential to all aspects of American business, governmental and daily life requires updating not only the infrastructure and technology, but also the business and governance models that support it.
For example, as “smart grid” systems allow for two-way communication between the providers and end-users of electric power, the advanced capabilities required to effectively manage the constantly-changing conditions, user-demand and even the mix of energy sources that create enough supply, have become substantially more complex.
Fortunately, innovation is playing a major role in meeting these newly emerging challenges. Leadership from the federal departments of Energy, Defense and Homeland Security also has advanced through numerous modernization initiatives, as discussed in this report. Perhaps the most important example of this is the development of various pilot projects and experimental microgrids – miniature, self-contained power grids that can deploy the latest technologies, efficiently harness resources, and ensure localized community support through effective Public-Private Partnerships.
Indeed, many microgrid models allow for innovative partnerships between power utilities, civilian government agencies, military installations and other entities. These arrangements are fostering development of microgrids that effectively address the critical needs of various stakeholders, while also solving challenges for siting, financing, and governing their implementation.
This report considers different models, factors and considerations that support the success of such partnerships.
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