Engaging in disruption: A review of emerging microgrids in Victoria, Australia

M. A. Farrelly, S. Tawfik

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Growing global consensus around the pressing need for decarbonisation to avert uncertain climate futures has accelerated the transition away from fossil fuels, towards widespread experimentation with distributed energy systems and practices. An investigation of four different microgrid-related experiments in Victoria, Australia revealed a number of commonalities and differences in relation to the drivers and challenges that supported and constrained these innovative projects. Despite differences in the types of microgrid projects examined, the case studies presented similar internal challenges, particularly in relation to organisational and individual risk aversion. External challenges arising from the broader regime were also present, particularly in relation to securing regulatory approvals, limitations in workforce capacity, and lack of industry acceptance. The empirical data suggests that the majority of challenges identified speak to the socio-institutional context rather than technological feasibility. Drawing on niche management framings, seven critical strategies for policy development aimed at shielding, nurturing and empowering future microgrid projects to move beyond experimentation and achieve more widespread decarbonisation are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109491
Number of pages11
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Distributed energy resources
  • Experimentation
  • Microgrid
  • Niche management
  • Sustainability transitions

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