What is a Microgrid?

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) defines a microgrid as ‘‘a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid. A microgrid can connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island-mode.” (Source: www.energy.gov)

How can microgrids help electric cooperatives and the grid?

Microgrids have the potential to help utilities and their customers by mitigating long-term outages from extreme weather events, providing grid services, and improving reliability. Improved performance and decreasing costs for distributed energy technologies have resulted in increased microgrid deployments.


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NRECA Efforts

NRECA is active in researching microgrid technologies and deployments, and has several projects and tools underway through the NRECA Research group:


MicrogridUP - The MicrogridUP project proposes to create a scalable microgrid planning framework to address known software and planning problems that limit the widespread, cost-effective utilization of microgrids on military bases. (Contact: David Pinney: David.Pinney@nreca.coop)

Rural Energy Storage Deployment Program (RESDP) - The goal of RESDP is to successfully deploy battery storage systems at rural critical infrastructure served by electric cooperatives to increase resiliency, improve system efficiency and to collect best practices and lessons learned from these deployments with electric cooperatives across the country. (Contacts: Lauren Khair: Lauren.Khair@nreca.coop and Maria Kanevsky: Maria.Kanevsky@nreca.coop)

Resilient Operation of Network Microgrids (RONM) - The RONM project is developing tools and techniques for controlling networked microgrids to ensure that multiple distributed generators and microgrids can operate together safely and effectively on the same circuit. (Contact: David Pinney: David.Pinney@nreca.coop)

  • Initial Information - Peer Review Slides from presentation at Los Alamos National Laboratory (June 2020)
  • More information coming soon!


  • microgridDesign Model in NRECA's Open Modeling Framework (OMF) - microgridDesign uses a 1yr load profile to determine the most economical combination of solar, wind, and storage technologies to use in a microgrid. The model also provides basic resiliency analysis. You can run a new copy of the model directly on omf.coop.

  • Microgrid Potential Explorer (app) - NRECA Research developed a mapping tool, so that cooperatives and rural communities can answer some of their first big questions on what their options or pathways are to implementing a community microgrid.

  • Additional tools coming soon!

Additional Related Resources