Rural communities currently face some of the highest energy costs and lowest reliability in the country, due in part to long transmission distances and low population densities. The North American Supergrid (“NAS”) has been proposed as a solution for increased grid stability, resiliency, and renewable generation with decreased carbon emissions and energy cost across the lower 48 states. Although the NAS could help with these energy goals, it is likely that benefits of the NAS would bypass many rural or isolated communities outside of the transmission step-down points. As the NAS will not help rural communities, states can take regulatory action aimed at promoting microgrid systems of locally generated renewable energy. Remote communities in Alaska have already taken advantage of microgrid systems, and Alaska’s microgrid policies could serve as a model for rural communities in the lower 48. This Note proposes regulatory changes to states’ microgrid policies, based on Alaska’s policies, to bolster renewable generation based microgrid system development for rural communities by (1) identifying and clearly defining important factors affecting microgrid implementation, (2) setting high renewable portfolio standards, (3) increasing financial investment, and (4) collaborating with other states and interest groups to share information. By considering Alaska’s policies as a prototype, states across the country can increase rural residents’ access to affordable energy.
Julie C. Michalski,
Microgrids for Micro-Communities: Reducing the Energy Burden in Rural Areas,
Mich. Tech. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mtlr/vol26/iss1/5