The BBC News website has an excellent piece up today about the utility of local distributed power networks, or "microgrids," as a tool for increasing energy efficiency and the adoption of alternative energy technologies. The article covers the key points, and is an excellent primer for understanding how such a system could function and why we'd want to build it. It's also excellent because WorldChanging is linked -- twice -- in their related resources list.
A quick note for new readers: we haven't used the term "microgrid" much here; we more often refer to "distributed power" and "smart grids." Search on those terms, for the full set of articles we've written. Some of the more useful pieces include: