IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019 - 74

it can be expected that the latent value of microgrids will
not be considered in investment decisions, along with
similar disaster preparation investments. Ironically, such
devaluation of disaster preparedness could serve to further increase the latent value of microgrids during disasters as populations with little or no preparation often
suffer greater consequences, and hence can gain greater
value from microgrids.
To date, arguments for the adoption of technologies
such as microgrids hinge upon quantified economic benefits stemming from the expense of maintaining or
upgrading existing infrastructure relative to the microgrid
[1]. Technologies such as microgrids, however, have latent
benefits that only become observable during extreme
events. Future research will aim to uncover what contextual conditions may allow greater antifragility upsides to
microgrids. One example is the complementary use of
groundwater wells powered by electrical pumps in aiding
firefighting in remote rural areas. Another research direction will examine investments that enable greater flexibility in power distribution networks, one example being
bidirectional charging from electric cars [6].
Traditional risk management aims of loss minimization
can be challenged to consider how technologies can create benefits to socio-technical systems in disaster situations. This utility is described in terms of antifragility and
robustness. Although the precise utility is unclear, it is
argued that the contributions of microgrid technology
should be considered along with more precise, quantitative evaluations. Future evaluations will be extended to
other technologies and socio-technical systems where
value can be achieved via the realization of latent benefits,
especially when the cost of ethical breaches is considered.

Author Information
The author is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Management, Operations, and Marketing, Faculty of Business,
University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia. Email:
amunoz@uow.edu.au.

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