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A microgrid is an energy system specifically designed to meet some of the energy needs of a group of buildings, a campus, or an entire community. It can include local facilities that generate electricity, heating, and/or cooling; store energy; distribute the energy generated; and manage energy consumption intelligently and in real time. Microgrids enable economies of scale that facilitate local production of energy in ways that can advance cost reduction, sustainability, economic development, and resilience goals. As they often involve multiple stakeholders, and may encompass numerous distinct property boundaries, municipal involvement is often a key factor for successful implementation.

This report provides an introduction to microgrid concepts, identifies the benefits and most common road blocks to implementation, and discusses proactive steps municipalities can take to advance economically viable and environmentally superior microgrids. It also offers advocacy suggestions for municipal leaders and officials to pursue at the state and regional level. The contents are targeted to municipal government staff but anyone looking for introductory material on microgrids should find it useful.