Puerto Rico Approves Utility Plan with Microgrid Mandate

After two years of debate and planning, Puerto Rico finally appears positioned to re-create its electric grid with microgrids and renewable energy, mandated in a new utility integrated resource plan (IRP). The mandate came from the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, the island’s chief energy regulator, in late August. Utility IRPs are guiding … [Read more...]

Engineering Group Sees Increase in Power Outages, Costs

Power outages — a key driver for microgrids — are becoming more frequent and costly, according to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). In this decade, there is a $135 billion “investment gap” for generation, $24.4 billion for transmission and $48.8 billion for the distribution system, the ASCE said in its report, … [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...]

On Cue, Blackouts Roll Across California after Google and Others Press for More Microgrids

As if to underscore the point, power blackouts rolled across California late last week right after dozens of  stakeholders urged state regulators to push harder to get more microgrids built. Hundreds of thousands of Californians lost power Friday and Saturday night when electric demand exceeded supply because of extreme heat. Utilities imposed … [Read more...]

What Can Regulators and Utilities Do to Boost Solar Nanogrids?

This portion of a  new special report series looks at utility and regulatory changes across the nation that could push solar nanogrids to the forefront of energy innovation.  In spite of the many challenges that nanogrids address, their growth is limited by regulatory and utility hurdles that prevent nanogrid owners from realizing their many … [Read more...]

Local Governments Want Communities — not Utilities — to Control Microgrids in California

A coalition representing 14 cities and 23 counties in California this week urged state regulators to give communities a chance to control community microgrid pilots and not restrict them to utilities. The Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition (LG) said the state’s current “top down” approach — which puts utilities in charge of … [Read more...]

Canada’s Prince Edward Island Plans $18.5M Microgrid to Ease Electricity Costs

Prince Edward Island today announced plans for a $18.53 (CA$24.5) million microgrid project to ease Covid-19 related financial hardships by reducing energy costs for those that live on the island. Called the Slemon Park Microgrid Project, the 10-MW solar-storage facility will boost renewable energy use on Prince Edward Island by 3.5% and … [Read more...]

What Isaias Laid Bare about the East Coast’s Progress — or Lack of — on Energy Resilience

Isaias’ punch to the East Coast last week in many ways resembled that of Superstorm Sandy, the storm that eight years ago launched a drive for microgrids to ward off power outages. So it naturally raises the question, When it comes to electric reliability, how far has the East Coast come since Sandy?  By the outage numbers, not far. … [Read more...]

Is California Better Prepared for the 2020 Wildfire Season?

A mix of dry conditions and strong winds are conspiring to make this year’s wildfire season in California especially threatening, and utilities and regulators are working to rapidly implement new resilience programs and ready microgrids to mitigate fire risk and prevent prolonged outages. The first few months of the year saw record low … [Read more...]

Connecticut to Look at Resilience, Renewables & NWAs in Grid Modernization Proceeding

Connecticut has launched three new proceedings to explore grid modernization policies that are likely to be of interest to the microgrid community. Underway before the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the three policy tracks will look at reliability and system resilience metrics and targets, non-wires alternatives, and the … [Read more...]