Department of Energy: Definition of a MicroGrid

A group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (DER) with clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid [and can] connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island mode.

How does it work

Traditional grids deliver energy from a variety of different sources, such as coal, nuclear, wind or solar. With this type of grid, the users are completely dependent on their connection to the grid. Should an emergency or some other type of natural disaster affect that connection, the users would be without power.
Microgrids can operate independent of the grid. Users are able to leverage local energy sources and distribute and manage them locally. They are still connected to the grid, but in cases of emergency, users will still be able to receive local power.

Why is a microgrid important for Brooklyn?

“Communities are taking an important first step toward securing their energy future. By ensuring a continuous energy supply, medical facilities and communities can more reliably provide critical services and be better protected in the event that disaster strikes. I encourage communities across the state to participate in the NY Prize program to make their energy systems stronger and more resilient.” — New York State Governor Cuomo

“Community microgrids can protect residents and businesses from some of the devastating effects seen after storms like Sandy, Irene and Lee and I’m pleased to see many of cities and towns across New York most impacted by these storms have entered this first phase of the NY Prize competition. Microgrid technology is just one component of the State’s efforts in building an energy infrastructure that is more resilient, reliable and efficient.” — NYSERDA Chairman of Energy and Finance Richard Kauffman