PG&E Gets Nod to Help Locals Build Community Microgrids in California

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) plan for helping local governments and tribes set up community microgrids to protect critical facilities when there are widespread power outages. PG&E’s Community Microgrid Enablement Program, approved March 18, grew out of the commission’s … [Read more...]

California Considers Lifting Microgrid Standby Charges

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will consider lifting or reducing standby charges for microgrids in the third phase of its effort to help commercialize microgrids. Standby charges — rates utilities use to cover their costs for self-generation customers — are viewed as a potential financial barrier to microgrids. Initial … [Read more...]

California Microgrid To Demonstrate that Hospitals Don’t Need Diesel Generators

Kaiser Permanente plans to demonstrate a range of energy innovations at a hospital microgrid in Ontario, California, that will include how to incorporate renewable energy and move away from diesel generators. The hospital microgrid also will feature a fuel cell and a demonstration virtual power plant (VPP) — with power provided from … [Read more...]

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...]