Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory statistics show that 80% to 90% of all grid failures begin at the
distribution level of electricity service. (Asmus and Stimmel, Utility Distribution Microgrids 2012) A
recent study conducted for the US DOE estimated that sustained power interruptions (over 5 minutes)
cost the US over $26 billion annually. (Cagle 2012) Microgrid advocates contend that reliability and
power quality can be dramatically improved at the local distribution level through systematic application
of Microgrid technologies.
In the Zpryme/IEEE study the top three benefits of Microgrids include: meet local demand (49% of
respondents), enhance grid reliability (36%), and ensure local control of supply (30%). Lower frequency
responses included enhancing supply reliability, reducing energy cost and enhancing grid security.
(Zpryme Analysis and Consulting 2012)
Pike Research also views the Microgrid as a foundational building block in the ultimate smart grid
because the Microgrid provides reliability and integration of distributed energy resources (DER) and
energy storage assets through improved system intelligence. (Asmus and Stimmel, Utility Distribution
Microgrids 2012) One view expressed is that the Microgrid is a “bottoms-up” solution platform whereby
the smart super grids represent a “top-down” approach.