Microgrids + mass transit = resilient mobility in a future clouded by climate change

Microgrids — combinations of solar PV, batteries, on-site generation and the technologies to integrate their operations with EV charging and the larger grid — could play a key role in transitioning public transit to clean power. The infrastructure package specifically mentions microgrids and would provide significant funding for microgrid components. The Biden administration has also expressed support for microgrids.

Well-designed microgrids can significantly cut the upfront and ongoing costs of switching from fossil fuel to electric vehicles for bus depots, airports and other public transit hubs. They can also optimize the value of on-site renewables, energy storage and backup generation.

A small number of public transportation agencies have developed microgrids for their systems. The numbers are growing, with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Montgomery County Department of Transportation in Maryland among the new entrants.