||A growing number of electricity users ranging from large production facilities to
homeowners are installing microgrids to increase the resilience and reliability of
their power supply. While this growth has largely been driven by private entities,
microgrids also offer municipal utilities, rural cooperatives, and local governments
a means to provide improved services to their constituents, provided the costs can
be appropriately controlled. In this project, we investigate the market potential
for microgrid adoption by small and medium-sized municipalities and electric cooperatives.
Insights around this market segment are drawn from semi-structured interviews with
representatives from not only municipalities and electric cooperatives, but also major
utilities, local government regulatory agencies, and microgrid experts. The findings
from these discussions indicate that municipal utilities have potential to be a healthy
market for microgrids as they avoid conflicts with monopoly distribution companies
and their government affiliation provides an opportunity to improve community resilience.
To accelerate microgrid deployment in this sector, a framework is developed for assessing
the viability of microgrid adoption for municipalities and cooperatives. This framework
is also used to identify a list of representative utilities that demonstrate the key
characteristics of this market segment.