Honors College Thesis


The Sustainability of Community Microgrids: Case Studies of Beaverton and Portland, Oregon Public Deposited

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  • This thesis is one part of a study to compare and contrast 10 different proposals and finished projects for microgrids, and the associated community perceptions and response. It has been posited that microgrids have the potential to improve the resiliency and reliability of the electricity grid. In recent years, there have been movements to encourage the development of energy storage systems at a state and federal level, though little research has been done to discover how communities respond to these projects. I have conducted case studies of two different, successful, community microgrids projects in the state of Oregon, through structured interviews with active stakeholders (n=7) and the collection of relevant media coverage, policy documents, and grants (n=43). Findings suggest that there was limited community engagement in both cases and that the projects were designed to be learning opportunities for the groups involved. This research attempts to report on the processes with which these microgrids were developed, the goals and motivations of those involved, and the challenges they encountered throughout and after the implementation of the microgrid. It also attempts to summarize recommendations for microgrid development in the state of Oregon based on the findings of public perceptions and logistical challenges.
  • Key Words: sustainability, energy, electricity, microgrids, community, policy
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  • This thesis was partially funded through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
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  • 45 minutes, 57 pages



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