Microgrids, which are pockets of distributed energy resources that can be isolated from the utility power grid, are the considered by many in the industry to be the ultimate example of energy democracy since they diversify the ownership of supply infrastructure. Campus environments represent the largest sector for the global grid-connected microgrid market today. Often the organizations that maintain campus-scale facilities – particularly educational institutions, but also including hospitals, the military, and some large corporations – manage energy in a comprehensive way, integrating within the confines of existing technology for on-site electric and thermal generation and loads. Thus, the leap up to a microgrid configuration is the next logical step in achieving greater autonomy and control of energy futures for these financially secure enterprises.
According to a recent report from Pike Research, total installed generation capacity for campus microgrids will increase by 164% between 2011 and 2017, rising from 620 megawatts (MW) to 1.6 gigawatts (GW). By the end of the forecast period in 2017, the cleantech market intelligence firm anticipates that the campus microgrid market will reach $777 million in annual revenue.
“The business case for campus environment microgrids revolves around classic value propositions of increased efficiency, greater reliability, and the potential for new revenue streams from the provision of ancillary grid services,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus. “Current trends toward a more distributed energy future appear to make microgrids an inevitable augmentation of today’s centralized grid infrastructure.”
For a variety of reasons, Pike Research’s analysis concludes, the United States represents the best overall market for grid-connected microgrids for most application segments, including campus environments. The ten-campus University of California (UC) system, for instance, has instituted a comprehensive energy policy that includes the goals of meeting 20% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2017, ensuring that 10% of its energy comes from locally generated clean sources by 2014, and reducing energy consumption by 10% by 2014 – all targets that make campus-based microgrids a logical step. Under Pike Research’s average forecast scenario for campus microgrid deployment, the North American education campus environment segment will reach 1.2 GW by 2017, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% between 2011 and 2017. Overall, in the same average scenario, the North American campus environment sector will reach 1.5 GW out of a world total of 1.6 GW – a market share greater than 95%.
Pike Research’s report, “Microgrids for Campus Environments”, examines current market dynamics, as well as the longer-term market potential, for campus microgrids in the commercial, education, government, healthcare, industrial and research campus application segments. The study analyzes the demand-side dynamics that are driving increased interest in campus microgrids, the key enabling technologies for these systems, and the industry players who are shaping this emerging market. Market forecasts for installed capacity and revenue are provided through 2017, segmented by world region and campus type.
An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
Pike Research www.PikeResearch.com
Press Release dated December 14, 2011