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Micro Grids World Overview

  • June 2013
  • -
  • Bsria
  • -
  • 51 pages

According to BSRIA estimates, in 2012 the world installed capacity of micro-grid networks reached 3.5 GW, an impressive 75% growth compared to the previous year. At the same time, micro-grid annual electricity generation reached almost 20 TWh, or 6% of the world’s total small scale decentralised electricity generation. However, as the analysis shows, micro-grids are still a negligibly small niche in the electricity generation market, accounting for just 0.1% of total electricity generation. The current demand for micro-grids is still rather low: despite a significant potential, the total micro-grid ecosystem value is insignificant in comparison with total investments into small scale decentralised generation: less than 5% of small-scale decentralised investment, according to BSRIA estimates. However, due to the introduction of new capacities around the world, the total value of micro-grid ecosystems reached 9 billion in 2012 compared to roughly 8 billion in the previous year.

North America and Europe remain the biggest regional micro-grid markets, accounting for 40% and 35% of the total micro-grid capacity respectively. The USA is unquestionably the largest single market, accounting for 35% of the total installed micro-grid capacity. Other relatively notable micro-grid markets include Canada, Japan and Denmark. Despite the growing share of renewables in the micro-grid generation, fossil fuels still dominate, accounting for approx. two thirds of total micro-grid generation output in 2012. Major fossil fuels are diesel and natural gas. Renewable only micro-grids are still a minority: the current micro-grid market consists mostly of either fossil only or mixed fossil and renewable projects. The “mixed” micro-grid segment is actually a segment of retrofit projects, in which old fossil fuel generation units are updated and/or extended with renewable distributed generation sources.

Among renewables, two sources of primary energy dominate: solar and wind power. The military sector seems to have established itself as a leading vertical market for micro-grids. In this segment, the demand for micro-grids is driven by the necessity of autonomous power generation in remote areas, as well as by the ability of micro-grids to “self-island” in emergency situations. Healthcare and education are the second most important target markets for micro-grids, followed by government and communities.

Table Of Contents

Micro Grids World Overview
A. Introduction
B. Micro-Grids: Market Trends and Developments
C. Micro-Grids in the Electricity Industry Context: Assessment of Capacity and Investment Potential
D. Micro-Grids Futures: Forecast and Outlook



Companies Mentioned

Horizon Energy Group, Mitsubishi

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