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To understand the present and future impact of microgrids, it ought to understand
the current regulatory, market and business structure of the power industry and
project with reasonable certainty its future. While we will not be able to predict
exactly how the future would look like, we must develop strategies that would allow
us to migrate from where we are today.
Starting from a generic Business models definition, this lab theme is aimed at
finding the more appealing and sustainable business model for the proposition of
– It will start with a complete assessment of the current Italian regulations
finding the more effective tools and models to address innovative project
with the Public Administration and private customers.
– Finally the resulting models might be “mapped” to the sponsor industries
solutions and might steer their strategy in successive roadmaps
What is a microgrid
A large number of microgrid definitions exist from industry, government, and academia. The closest to a U.S.
Government–approved microgrid definition is that developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) Microgrid
“A microgrid is 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 and island-mode[*].”
We got three major messages delivered from this definition:
• Integration platform for supply-side (micro-generators) and demand-side resources (storage units and
(controllable) loads) located in the same local distribution grid.
• Capability of handling both normal state (grid-connected) and emergency state (islanded) operations
• Capability of handling conflicting interests of different stakeholders so as to arrive at a globally optimal
operation decision for all players involved
[*] Office of Electricity Deliver and Energy Reliability, Smart Grid R&D Program. 2011. DOE Microgrid Workshop Report, San
EU extension of the NIST Model
for the microgrid
Microgrid value chain
Enterprise s/s Energy Market s/s
Distribution Automation s/s
Field Force s/s
Electric system operation s/s
Industrial s/s E-mobility s/s Commercial s/s
Distribution DER Customer
Microgrid Use Cases
uc People & Organizations
Overlay Grid Operator
DER Owner Consumer Storage Owner Retailer Aggregator System Operator
DSO Operator TSO Operator Retail Market Operator
Microgrid Use Cases
Sells balancing and
Provides island mode
uc C&M UC
Balancing supply and
Microgrids Business models
Utility Non utility
Owns wires Own use
Own use with some
Owns generation Non utility generation
not manage controls
Vertically integrated Unbundled Landlord Cooperative Model Customer-generator
Utility Aggregator Non Utility Aggregator
• Utility model – the distribution utility owns and manages the microgrid to reduce customer costs and provide
special services (e.g. high power quality and reliability) to customers on the system.
• Non-Utility model .
• Landlord model – a single landlord installs a microgrid on-site and provides power and/or heat to
tenants under a contractual lease agreement (e.g. smart building use case).
• Cooperative model – multiple individuals or firms cooperatively own and manage a microgrid to serve
their own electric and/or heating needs. Customers voluntarily join the microgrid and are served under
• Customer-generator model – a single individual or firm owns and manages the system, serving the
electric and/or heating needs of itself and its neighbors. Neighbors voluntarily join the microgrid and
are served under contract.
• Aggregation model – power and/or thermal energy is produced and sold among different users using the
existing utility distribution infrastructures
• Study of Italian regulatory framework
• Identification of the most suitable business model
for the Italian market (if any)
• Choice of business model
• Business model definition for stakeholders