Massachusetts Offers $40M for Energy Resiliency, Microgrids

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energy resiliencyMassachusetts is offering $40 million for energy resiliency projects, including microgrids, to protect communities from power outages during severe weather.

Called the Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative, the program is geared toward critical facilities, like hospitals, police stations, shelters, communications facilities, grocery stores and gas stations.

The money is being offered through two solicitations, issued May 15 by the Department of Energy Resources.

“These grants will provide an opportunity for cities and towns to tap the technology and expertise of the commonwealth’s clean energy industry to protect residents and businesses from the effects of climate change,” said Mark Sylvia, DOER commissioner.

Who’s eligible

Cities, towns, regional planning agencies and public/private partnerships may apply, according to solicitation materials on the DOER website. The state lists a range of eligible technologies including microgrids, energy storage, renewable energy, combined heat and power, fuel cells, energy management systems and islanding technology.

For the purpose of the solicitations, the state defines microgrids as:

Multiple buildings on one or more meter that are interconnected with electric and/or thermal distribution infrastructure, are served by distributed generation, and can operate either in parallel with or islanded from the broader utility grid.

To further explain, the state illustrates a hypothetical microgrid that serves a  hospital and shelter. The project can island and includes a black-start capable combined heat and power system at the hospital. It also features an islandable solar photovoltaic system with battery storage at a neighboring school that could serve as a shelter. This project works with the local utilities to allow the distribution of electricity across public ways, the DOER said.

The money will be awarded through two soliciations.  PON-ENE-2014-035  funds technical assistance. PON-ENE-2014-036 provides money to implement projects.

The state expects to offer technical assistance to 40 to 80 applicants. The DOER will review technical assistance applications June 16-July 15, and make awards on a rolling basis beginning June 30.

Maximum award

The second solicitation — for project implementation — requires that grant winners meet several metrics. Among other things, they must use clean energy and serve critical facilities. The projects also must be able to isolate critical loads from non-critical loads, operate both parallel with the grid and in island mode, and meet utility interconnection strategy guidelines.

The state will award a maximum of $5 million to a project implementation winner. Applications are due July 15 for a first round of applications. The DOER expects to announce winners August 15.

The state also will offer a second round of project funding for communities that won technical awards and are ready to take the next step and build. The deadline for the second round is October 15, with winners announced November 15 (a tentative date).

The money will come from a fund generated by alternative compliance payments. Utilities and retail suppliers pay into the fund if they fail to secure enough state-required renewable energy or alternative energy credits.

“We have already seen firsthand in Massachusetts how devastating a loss of energy can be to a community during times of natural disaster, and predictions are that the impacts of climate change will only make these events more severe going forward,” said Governor Patrick. “This initiative will provide communities across the Commonwealth the opportunity to identify their most critical assets now and utilize clean energy technology to keep their residents safer in the future.”

Details about the grant program can be found on the DOER website.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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  1. […] during a disaster. These include a $10 million energy storage solicitation and a $40 million resiliency grant program to encourage use of clean energy technology to protect communities from power outages during severe […]

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