Microgrid Solicitations Offering more than $50M Planned by California

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The California Energy Commission plans to issue two microgrid solicitations this summer that together make available more than $50 million for microgrid demonstrations, deployment and modeling.

The largest solicitation will offer about $44.7 million for technology demonstration and deployment (S15.1). The commission wants projects that demonstrate how commercial microgrids can support California’s aggressive energy and greenhouse reduction policies and integrate new and emerging technologies. Release of the solicitation is scheduled for the June to August time frame.

The second of the microgrid solicitations (S7) will offer about $9 million for distributed energy and microgrid modeling tools for behind-the-meter systems. The energy commission seeks comments on the solicitation by June 21.

Behind the solicitation is concern by California officials that better modeling is required to fully understand the effect on the grid of growth in microgrids, renewables, electric vehicles and other distributed energy resources (DERs). Need exists, the commission says, for faster modeling tools that determine the locational impacts of microgrids and distributed energy. In particular, the commission says it hopes to see development of a desktop interface to integrate and enable application sharing of distribution planning tools.

“Though it is becoming widely recognized that microgrids with behind-the-meter DER can benefit the grid and provide greater value to customers than only photovoltaic (PV) or storage alone can, there is not yet consensus on how to determine those values or how they can be maximized,” says the energy commission’s request for comments.

The commission expects to release the modeling solicitation between July and September.

Money for the solicitations will come from California’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC), collected from ratepayers to support clean energy investment. The state collects about $162 million annually for the fund. Of that the energy commission administers about $130 million. The money goes primarily toward solving policy and funding gaps that inhibit development and commercialization of clean energy.

Other EPIC solicitations planned by the commission this summer include:

  • $6.4 million to advance the resilience and environmental performance of California’s electricity system (S5)
  • $30 million to increase adoption of emerging clean energy technologies through procurement (S19)

Solicitation information is available on the commission’s EPIC opportunities page.

Track news about microgrid solicitations by following Microgrid Knowledge on Twitter @MicrogridNews.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than three 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.