This website provides an overview of existing and developing micro electricity grids in the European Union.
A microgrid is a decentralised grid which can disconnect from the main electricity grid and structure it into ‘local sub-grids that manage their power and energy balancing.’ The three main benefits of microgrids relate to (1) energy security, (2) economic profits, and (3) the integration of renewable energy sources. Firstly, energy security can be increased due to the microgrid’s ability to island itself from the main electricity network. Islanding means that it can function independently from the main network. Secondly, economic profits are incurred by infrastructure cost savings, fuel savings, and ancillary services that can be offered by the microgrid. Those services typically include frequency control support, voltage control support, congestion management, and black start services. Thirdly, microgrids can help to reduce greenhouse gases by increasing the share of renewables in the electricity sector at a local level.
Image Ⓒ Berkeley Lab
In the EU, various Member States have implemented microgrids to test the system, but there is no complete and easily accessible overview that shows how many microgrids currently exist and how many are under construction. This website aims to provide such an overview by mapping existing and developing micro electricity grids in Europe. Electricity systems are classified as microgrids if they fulfil the following criteria as identified in the academic literature: (1) The system has islanded and grid-connected functionalities, (2) the system has defined boundaries, and (3) the system has a control entity that is able to manage the energy resources along the loads.
The research on microgrids related to this website is part of a PhD project which assesses the regulation of microgrids from a law and economics perspective. The central question of this PhD research is: How should microgrids be regulated in the EU in a way that minimises transaction costs to make an effective and efficient contribution to the energy transition?
As part of the European Green Deal, the EU aims to be climate neutral by 2050: net emissions of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by that time should be zero. This is only achievable if all actors responsible for emitting greenhouse gases act towards this aim, including electricity consumers. The aging centralised electricity network has difficulties to facilitate the required technical innovation of the grid and to effectively integrate renewable energy sources. By promoting the use of decentralised electricity systems, such as micro electricity grids, electricity users can more actively participate in the electricity market and contribute to the energy transition.
Microgrids are small-scale decentralised electricity systems which, among other things, can help to manage the efficient integration of renewable energy. This can help to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix. Furthermore, within a microgrid, electricity consumers are encouraged to participate in the energy market, as a microgrid allows consumers (buyers) and producers (sellers) to engage in electricity transactions. Such transactions lead to mutual welfare gains only if their transaction costs do not outweigh their benefits. However, transaction costs are to a large extent determined by the legal framework, which is currently not existing in the EU. As a result, transaction costs increase due to uncertainty.
Pinto et al, ‘Power Sharing in Island Microgrids’  Front. Energy Res.
 Hirsch et al, ‘Microgrids: A review of technologies, key drivers, and outstanding issues’  Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 402.
 Miguel Carpintero-Rentería et al, ‘Microgrids Literature Review though a Layers Structure’  Energies.
 European Commission, ‘Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - The European Green Deal’ (COM (2019) 640 final, 11.12.2019).