Geneva, 7 November 2017: Today, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) releases its new guide “Microgrids for commercial and industrial companies.” Presented by ABB, CLP Group, Eaton Corporation, EDP, Enel Group and Schneider Electric, the report explains when, why and how commercial and industrial (C&I) companies can benefit from low-carbon microgrids.

The new report will be helpful to C&I companies because it answers key questions for considering different energy supply options including: when can a company use microgrids? Why should they install low-carbon microgrids? How should they be financed? What are the wider benefits?

Reliable, affordable and sustainable power remains a critical need for C&I companies in off-grid areas or areas with inconsistent supply. Even in areas with reliable grids, C&I companies wish to improve the economics for self-production, increase their resiliency and lower emissions. This report is a key step in helping them do so.

According to the report, C&I firms are motivated to switch to low-carbon microgrids in order to

  • save on energy bills thanks to lower operating costs;
  • increase security and reliability of energy supply;
  • achieve self-defined targets for renewable energy sourcing and lower greenhouse gas emissions

Over the past three years, solar PV microgrids have become competitive with thermal solutions. The levelized cost of energy of PV microgrids is now significantly lower than that of diesel generators and comparable with that of gas microturbines. Moreover, the cost of battery packs decreased by more than half, improving the business case for storage and peak-shaving.

Beyond the technical and financial aspects, low-carbon microgrids are also bringing proven significant environmental and social benefits and are becoming an anchor to supply energy to other neighboring consumers.

For C&I customers who are interested in investigating microgrid opportunities, the report provides a checklist of the information they need to start a new, successful project.