The Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic released a new report today, Massachusetts Microgrids: Overcoming Legal Obstacles, which summarizes the conclusions of the Clinic’s research into legal constraints on the ownership structure of microgrids in Massachusetts. The Clinic undertook this work at the behest of the City of Boston, to help promote the development of microgrids in the City and elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
A microgrid is a spatially defined area in which the heat, electricity, and sometimes cooling distribution systems are coordinated. The City of Boston wants to enable the creation and use of multi-user microgrids, due to their potential as a climate change adaptation measure. Combined with renewable sources of energy, microgrids can provide significant efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits. In addition, microgrids can increase the resilience of a community to storms and other disruptions by having the ability to operate independently of the macrogrid (larger electrical grid), thus enabling the microgrid to continue to provide heat and electricity to critical functions.
Clinic student Seth A. Hoedl, Ph.D, JD’15, took the lead on the research and analysis for this project and preparation of this report. In addition, Seth presented preliminary findings at two workshops organized by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Pace Energy and Climate Center earlier this year. Seth’s work on this project was supervised by Clinic Director Wendy B. Jacobs and Senior Clinical Instructor Shaun A. Goho.