UDMs allow utilities to manage portfolios of distributed energy resources (DER). According to Navigant, the installed capacity of such microgrids in the US was 29 MW in 2015.
In its report, Utility Distribution Microgrids: Utility Technology Disruption Report, Navigant cautioned that adoption of UDMs is dependent on regulatory reforms, natural disasters, and customer adoption rates of distributed energy resources such as solar PV and energy storage. Thus, UDMs are expected to be deployed for just a ‘very small portion’ of the potential market over the next decade, the report said.
‘Microgrids historically have been developed by private and public sector consumers not getting what they wanted in terms of reliability or renewables from their host distribution utilities,’ said Peter Asmus, Navigant’s principal research analyst.
‘The concept of a UDM turns this value proposition on its head as utilities seek new business models to better manage both customer-owned and utility-owned DER.’