Financing Microgrids in the Federal Sector: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE)

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Recent high-impact events such as hurricanes and wildfires highlight the need for energy system resilience. One potential impact of these events is the loss of utility grid power to federal sites, negatively affecting the ability to carry out their missions. Depending on the need to sustain critical functions, it may be important to continue operations during an outage of the electric grid, or at least have power restored quickly after the event. One approach to addressing this need is through a microgrid. Microgrids can provide a more reliable solution than the traditional approach of using a backup generator at individual buildings. A microgrid can enhance a site’s electrical power system during normal operations, as well as provide reliable backup power to critical loads when electric utility power is interrupted. Many times, certain components of a microgrid (and potentially the entire system) can be justified economically and paid for out of energy savings or avoided costs. In cases where savings can cover the project costs, one of several privately financed procurement mechanisms may be used to implement the project. However, it can be difficult to achieve enough savings and avoided costs to cover the entire microgrid system, so leveraging these avoided costs in combination with appropriated funds may be necessary to implement the full project. This paper explores procurement options and agreements that may be useful to federal agencies interested in implementing microgrids at their sites. Microgrid complexities, implementation considerations, and suggestions to get started are also discussed. This information will be most useful to agencies when they are exploring electric energy system resilience options and/or considering different procurement options to meet their needs.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A40-77559


  • backup power
  • energy system resilience
  • federal energy resilience
  • federal microgrid implementation
  • federal microgrid procurement
  • microgrid
  • microgrid procurement mechanism
  • microgrid procurement option
  • microgrid project financing
  • resilience


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