The electric utility industry’s shift toward microgrids is global. Worldwide, microgrids will be a $23 billion market sector by 2021, according to the research firm GlobalData.

This is part of the electric-utility industry’s long period of transformation: The business model of monopoly ownership of a centralized generation and distribution system is dying. The industry is testing new ways to survive, and a variety of new models are likely to flourish. Utilities may evolve into partners providing capital and technical expertise to locally owned microgrids or into holding companies that own part or all of a series of microgrids.

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