Graduation Date

Spring 2017

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Systems, option Energy, Technology, and Policy

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Arne Jacobson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Steven Hackett

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Charles Chamberlin

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environmental Resources Engineering


Microgrids are being investigated across the U.S. as a solution to support greater reliability, resiliency, and security of electricity supply. This thesis evaluates the potential of developing technically feasible and economically viable microgrids for selected customer categories in California.

Customer categories selected for this study are deemed suitable for microgrid applications by previous studies. For a customer to be technically suitable for microgrid adoption, this study defined a minimum energy requirement threshold. In order to determine the economically viable potential, a benefit-cost analysis was done to assess microgrid benefits compared to the base case of exclusive reliance on grid electricity. The fraction of the technical potential that was found to clear the benefit-cost analysis was considered as the economic potential.

A total of 1,188 sites in California with a cumulative microgrid hosting capacity of 7,450 MW were found to be economically feasible. The study also found that customers with one MW or more peak load are economically viable for hosting a microgrid. Availability of external funding can make microgrids economically feasible for more customer groups, even for customers with peak load less than one MW, which otherwise are currently at the margin.

It is acknowledged that the customer categories selected in this study represent a subset of the possible customer categories. The cost of microgrid development, and especially the cost of microgrid controller, is highly uncertain as microgrids are a relatively new market. Hence, the emphasis of this thesis was to demonstrate a methodology for estimating of microgrid development potential in California rather than determining precise values.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location