Community microgrids are similar to Secure Power Enclaves in that both are designed to serve a community, both serve multiple customers over the electric grid, and both are good platforms for DERs. Both are generally implemented by utilities or by utilities working with community organizations.
Community microgrids, however, differ from Secure Power Enclaves in several important ways. Unlike Secure Power Enclaves, community microgrids do not usually emphasize protection of multiple critical infrastructure and their interdependence. Community microgrids are typically implemented over the distribution network and usually cover the area served by a single substation. By contrast, Secure Power Enclaves are implemented over the transmission network and cover the areas served by multiple substations, some of which can host community (or other) microgrids.
Community microgrids are a relatively new concept and have no single common objective or application. Their objectives and applications tend to be very community specific as is illustrated in the graphic below. Many are intended to use only distributed energy resources, especially renewables, and do not use existing utility-scale resources. Although they are implemented over the electric grid , they are not intended to be a significant resource for the regional electric grid. Often, they have been implemented as one-of-a-kind demonstration projects with no clear pathway to replication.
Embedding one or more community microgrids within a Secure Power Enclave enables those community microgrids to improve electric grid resilience and creates an incentive for replication. While Secure Power Enclaves and community microgrids differ, embedding community microgrids within an Secure Power Enclave has several advantages for both which increase the benefits of both. In specific, embedding:
• Broadens locations and increases scale for community microgrid resources,
• Provides higher value for DER used to secure critical infrastructure,
• Creates a natural and expandable platform for managing distributed assets,
• Provides a more flexible way of integrating internal and external markets,
• Is a low-cost way to provide resilience to a broader community,
• Provides the ability to prioritize and phase-in distributed assets, and
• Is a natural link to the outside grid and markets.
The feasibility and benefits of embedding community microgrids within Secure Power Enclaves are very area-specific. Embedding other types of microgrids serving single facilities or campuses within a Secure Power Enclave also adds a layer of defense to those facilities or campuses and enables coordination between the Secure Power Enclave and those other microgrids.
San Diego Gas & Electric
Remote Community with High Renewables Demonstration
Pacific Gas and Electric
Reliability Improvement Native American Reservation
Commonwealth Edison (Exelon)
Nested Microgrid Demonstration
Philadelphia Electric Co. (Exelon)
LO3 (Consolidated Edison Service Territory)
Solar Photovoltaic with Energy Trading Using Blockchain
Alabama Power (Southern Company)
Smart Neighborhood Demonstration
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