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What is a Microgrid? The term refers to a broad range of energy systems – generally fed by one or more distributed energy sources that produce power, which have the ability to operate “off the grid” and serve a specific customer-base, such as a college or hospital complex.  Microgrid development is motivated by a combination of objectives, including sustainability, infrastructure modernization, economic benefits, and redundancy/resiliency issues. Microgrids often include renewable energy components, such as rooftop solar arrays, energy storage components (including battery, chilled water or other cutting-edge storage technologies) and electric vehicle charging stations. 

Foley’s attorneys have a long history of representing sponsors, customers and financing parties in developing, financing and selling campus microgrid projects for corporates, universities and hospitals, and are currently working on a broader array of microgrid projects for hotels and regional communities.  We have found that microgrid projects typically involve customary energy project development elements, but often require expertise with various other subject matters such as procurement, regulatory, tax, debt and equity financing, public-private partnership structures, and the implementation and management of emerging technology.  There is also a broader range of contracts that could come into play in addition to power purchase and land agreements, such as concession agreements, long-term service agreements, and contracts relating to resource adequacy and demand-response.  No matter your role in the project, Foley has the “soup to nuts” expertise needed to address any such issues that arise in these transactions.

If you are developing, building, buying, selling or financing a microgrid project, look to the team with the experience and expertise in this growing and changing market to get your deal done.

To illustrate the differences between typical distributed generation assets and microgrids, note the following comparison: 

Decentralized Power Generation  Decentralized Power Generation and Management (storage, demand response) 
Usually Interconnected with utility power  Usually interconnected with utility power, and actively interacts with utility power grid 
Focused on power savings or control primarily, redundancy secondarily  Focused primarily on redundancy and control 
Project Financing  Project Financing and Balance Sheet or Debt