California Tribe Explores What Some See as the Future: Networked Microgrids

Not just anyone can develop networked microgrids. The problem? It requires ownership of the land on which all of the networked microgrids will be located, according to Tim McDuffie, senior business development engineer for Smarter Grid Solutions. His company has proposed networked microgrids for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, located in Hoopa, … [Read more...]

PG&E Faces Backlash Over “Optional” Label for Microgrids in Certain California Fire Zones

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is facing backlash for its proposal to label microgrids “optional” in certain California fire zones, a label that critics say would nearly double the cost of developing microgrids and result in fewer coming online. The proposal emerged within a proceeding before the California Public Utilities Commission … [Read more...]

PG&E Taps Michigan Utility Exec to Lead Company

PG&E, California's largest utility, selected Patti Poppe to lead the company after it emerged from bankruptcy and is under pressure to bolster grid resilience in the face of wildfire threats. Poppe is a long-time utility executive at CMS Energy, based in Jackson, Michigan, and its utility subsidiary Consumers Energy, which has about 6.7 … [Read more...]

Pandemic, Outages Kindle Homeowner Interest in Electric Reliability: Survey

A new survey by Sunrun underscores just how much homeowners are beginning to worry about electric reliability as California utilities continue to shut off power to prevent wildfires. The Sunrun study found a kindling in homeowner interest in acquiring batteries to avoid blackouts. In the study, 38% of homeowners out of 1,000 surveyed said … [Read more...]

Demand for Home Microgrids Surges in Response to California Fires

Interest in home microgrids is surging in California in response to wildfires and public safety power shutoffs (PSPS), with microgrid companies saying demand has jumped by as much as 1,000% in the last month. Not only has demand increased; so has the pressure to install home microgrids as quickly as possible, and some companies say they … [Read more...]

How to Reduce PG&E’s Diesel Use During Fire Emergencies and Shutoffs?

Microgrids and distributed energy resources (DERs) can help reduce Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) diesel use during California fire emergencies, but only if new incentives are implemented and DER integration systems are created. Microgrids and DERs will be most helpful, at least in the short-term, if paired with other technologies, … [Read more...]

Did the Calistoga Microgrid Fail September 8? Nope.

Although it has a fully-ready microgrid, Calistoga, California experienced a series of unfortunate events that led to loss of power for more than 2,000 utility customers, a side effect of a preventative power shutoff in neighboring regions. On September 8 dangerous wildfire conditions caused Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to trigger … [Read more...]

Multi-Customer Microgrids: Rare, Difficult and the Future

When the switch is flipped on the Redwood Coast Airport Renewable Energy Microgrid, it will become the first multi-customer microgrid in Northern California and one of only a handful active in the US.  This inventive project aims to be a model for creating resilient communities, but should it be successful some of its more innovative … [Read more...]

California Microgrids Flex Their Skills During Blackouts

California microgrids stepped up during the mid-August rolling blackouts, delivering flexible load and providing backup electricity, as extreme heat left the state short on power. Stone Edge Farm’s microgrid and three microgrids operated by Bloom Energy were among those that provided resiliency for their owners and community members on August … [Read more...]

California Utilities Expect No More than 30% Reduction in Wildfire-related Power Shutoffs

California’s largest utilities were called before state regulators last week to discuss their plans “to reduce the use, scope, and impact” of public safety power shutoffs (PSPS), the problematic practice of de-energizing power lines to minimize the risk of sparking wildfires. Though their individual territories dictate some customization, … [Read more...]