New York is the leader in installed operational microgrids. The Empire State would like to hold on to that title with its $40 million NY Prize for microgrids that offer resiliency for critical facilities and surrounding communities.

There’s other microgrid interest in the state outside of NY Prize. One of the state’s largest utilities, Con Edison, is very interested in microgrids as part of its Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program, or BQDM, that it hopes can defer the cost of building a $1 billion substation.

In a second-quarter report this year, Con Edison offered some detail for a microgrid with a large customer. The gas-fired microgrid has community interest and utility backing. Even so, “This is a complex potential project, and conversations with the customer and other stakeholders are ongoing,” the report stated. The BQDM is meant to defer the need for the substation by 2018, and yet going into 2016, the Queens Resiliency Microgrid is still firmly in the early planning phase.

Con Edison and New York are not alone. The U.S. microgrid market may be reaching a tipping point between technology development and wider-scale commercial deployment, but regulatory and technical issues abound.

Over the next five years, the cumulative operational capacity of microgrids in the U.S. is expected to more than double, from 1,283 megawatts in 2015 to 2,855 megawatts by 2020, according to the latest figures from GTM Research. Military and universities will continue to make up the largest portion of those microgrids, which sidestep many of the tricky questions that will dog community and multi-site commercial microgrids.

Commercial microgrids, which make up 40 percent of planned capacity, will need to sort out many issues between the utilities and other stakeholders. For instance, should microgrids that enhance critical facilities be allowed to be rate-based, as is being considered in Maryland? Who is responsible for the distribution wiring within a community microgrid, a local utility or a third-party?  

To learn more about the issues that must be tackled to unlock the microgrid market across the U.S., check out the next Clean Energy Connections event, “The Ultimate Resiliency Plan: Microgrids and the Continued Segmentation of Electric Grid Assets.”

GTM Research senior grid analyst Omar Saadeh will lead the discussion on November 16 at 7 p.m. in New York City alongside Brent Hollenbeck, founder and CEO of TimberRock Energy Solutions; Bradley Kranz, VP of business development at NRG Energy; Paul Belnick, VP of integrated grid at New York Power Authority; and John Bradley, associate VP for sustainability, energy, and technical Services at New York University.

General admission is $25 and student admission is $10. Advance tickets can be purchased here.

Watch the archive of the Clean Energy Connections Event The Ultimate Resiliency Plan: Microgrids and the Continued Segmentation of Electric Grid Assets:

Join the conversation via Twitter @CleanECNYC with hashtag #CleanNRGx.