Cassina Tarsia outside her home, in Oceanside, California, which she installed with a microgrid, on April 28, 2014. Photo: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Much of the United States' energy infrastructure is archaic and unreliable. Severe weather is the primary cause of power loss, with numerous areas suffering multi-day outages last winter. The need for improved infrastructure in response to climate change was highlighted in a 2013 White House report and persists today.

What's next: Daunting and expensive as it would be, a national overhaul of the grid is sorely needed. Microgrids could play a significant role, as they offer a promising way to provide stable, green and cost-efficient energy.

Microgrids integrate grid power with multiple types of electrical energy sources, particularly renewables (e.g., solar and wind) and storage, alongside cleaner fossil fuel–based generators that when blended provide more environmentally friendly power.

The controls of the microgrid assure the reliability of the power system through combined load and source management, taking advantage of green and inexpensive generation when available. Additionally, they allow for the creation of new infrastructure by deploying standalone “island grids” and simplify infrastructure updates in areas struggling with outdated, inflexible systems.

Microgrids offer an array of benefits:

  1. Improved resilience, sustainability and cost efficiency of energy delivery
  2. Three distinct modes of operation: grid-tied, island (relying on local power) and a transitional mode between those two
  3. Energy flexibility, maintained by managing both locally and grid-produced energy, controlling loads in time of use, and allowing users to independently determine when best to produce or to use their energy, with the help of storage systems

The bottom line: Building microgrids that attach to the central grid would allow microgrid participants to leverage their energy sources during emergencies while also improving the overall health of our environment through increased market penetration of renewables.

Andy Haun is SVP and CTO of microgrid business at Schneider Electric.

Go deeper

Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.