The Norwegian Smart Grid Center is active in ISGAN by serving as a member of the Executive Committee.

This discussion paper was prepared for ISGAN, the IEA Implementing Agreement for a Co-operative Programme on Smart Grids (ISGAN). ISGAN functions within a framework created by the International Energy Agency (IEA). ISGAN discussion papers are intended to serve the purpose of input documents to stimulate global discussions on smart grid thought leadership.

Download the discussion paper here: The role and interaction of microgrids


A rapid expansion of the introduction of microgrids is underway universally, primarily to allow increased electrification in growing economies, but also to meet the need to reduce global CO2 emissions and to provide ancillary services to centralized grids. Energy access constitutes one of the fundamental building blocks for economic growth, as well as social equity, in the modern world. Access to sustainable energy is needed to achieve sustainable development.

The following topics are considered through the examination of several implemented cases from different parts of the world:

  • Analysis of the interaction between centralized grids and microgrids.
  • Analysis of stakeholder decision parameters for electrification through extension of the central grid or microgrids; such as distance from grid, economic feasibility and environmental sustainability.
  • Analysis of design differences and requirements for microgrids, based on intended purpose and the needs of the end customer.

It has been determined that good planning, appropriate requirements and clear regulations for microgrids limit the risk of stranded assets and enable better business cases for the involved stakeholders.