Most Read Microgrid Stories for the First Half of 2020…California, California, California

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Microgrid Knowledge keeps a close eye on trends and interests in this fast-growing industry. One way we do that is by analyzing the stories that attract the greatest readership. Below you’ll find the 10 most read microgrid stories for the first half of 2020.

most read microgrid stories

By Artur Szczybylo/Shutterstock.com

The first six months of the year brought new utility and community opportunities and a lot of attention to microgrids as a way to keep the power flowing to California during wildfire season. In fact, California stories make up four of the top 10 most read. Colorado and Maryland also topped the list for their microgrid incentive programs.

Our readers were drawn to articles that featured innovation, particularly an off-grid residential microgrid community in Oregon and Stop & Shop’s installation of Bloom Energy fuel cell microgrids.

Last, and not surprisingly, readership was high for articles that delved into microgrid costs and benefits.

1. Xcel Energy to Build 7 Community Microgrids. Negotiating with Siemens and Fluence

Xcel Energy is seeking regulatory approval to move forward with seven microgrids, at a cost to the utility of $23.4 million, chosen from a community resilience solicitation that the Colorado utility issued in May.

The microgrids will serve the Denver International Airport Automated Guideway Transit System; National Western Center; Denver Rescue Mission’s Lawrence Street Community Center; City of Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities; Town of Nederland Community Center; Summit County Middle School; and Alamosa Family Recreation Center.

The petition for approval and cost recovery is before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (Proceeding 19A-0225E). Continue reading

2. California’s Largest Utility Seeks 20 Microgrids to Ward off Wildfire-related Power Outages

Racing to beat California’s next wildfire season, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is seeking companies to install microgrids near 20 substations.

The microgrids will be used to keep electricity flowing when the utility shuts down power lines that could spark wildfires during windy and dry weather.

California’s largest utility issued a solicitation for the microgrids last week and intends to move fast. It wants to have the microgrids installed by June 1, 2020 or at the latest Sept. 1, 2020. California’s wildfire threats are usually greatest in autumn. Continue reading

3. Will a Single Utility, PG&E, Boost the 2020 Microgrid Market by $1 Billion?

By some estimates, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is creating a $1 billion opportunity for microgrids, meaning one utility in one year could boost the worldwide market by 10%.

Not surprisingly, the California utility by its own account received a “robust” number of bids by companies that want to provide the microgrids. PG&E issued a solicitation in December for 20 microgrids, totalling more than 500 MW, to be built in 2020. The utility also has plans to build another 28 at a later date. Continue reading

4. Rural Neighborhood Chooses Off-Grid Microgrids Instead of Paying the Utility

For the Silvies Valley Ranch outside of Burns, Oregon, off-grid microgrids for each of 600 homes under development makes more financial sense than paying the local utility $7 million to run utility lines to the ranch.

The eco-friendly ranch and luxury resort, formerly a dude ranch, is located on 140,000 acres in eastern Oregon where visitors and homeowners won’t be allowed to drive gas-powered cars. Instead, they’ll park their cars and will be given electric golf carts for transporation, said Eric Lobdell, vice president of sales for Humless, the company providing the equipment for the microgrids. Continue reading

5. Are Microgrids Expensive? (First article in a series)

Asking ‘Are microgrids expensive?’ is a bit like asking what rocks cost. Are we talking about diamonds or driveway gravel?

Any discussion tends to be a long one. There is no elevator pitch answer for three main reasons.

First, microgrids vary dramatically in size and complexity and more importantly purpose, which creates a wide cost variance. Second, what a customer actually pays and what the microgrid costs may not be the same. Third, the cost of not having a microgrid — the economic damage of power outages — needs to be considered. Continue reading

6. Maryland Announces Funding for 14 Microgrid Projects

Maryland yesterday announced winners in its resilience solicitation, 14 facilities that speak to the range of operations now pursuing microgrid projects — from marginalized neighborhoods to food production operations to a marine terminal.

The winners will divvy up $1.05 million provided by the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) Resilient Maryland program. The funding will go toward completing detailed feasibility analyses, engineering, planning, and designs, positioning them to seek financing. Continue reading

utility microgrids

California stories make up four of the top 10 most read. By Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

7. Utility Microgrids Come to California with Speed — and Invention

Utility microgrids are coming to California — and fast — according to plans filed before state regulators last week by the state’s three investor-owned utilities.

At the urging of the public utilities commission, the utilities are trying to install microgrids quickly, many in 2020, to reduce power outages when the next wildfire season strikes. Millions of Californians lost power in October and November when utilities de-energized lines to avoid sparking fires. Continue reading

8. Microgrid Benefits: Eight Ways a Microgrid Will Improve Your Operation…and the World

Microgrids serve industries, institutions, communities and other customers in a range of ways. Here we look at eight main microgrid benefits – from keeping the lights in a storm to lowering energy costs to improving community well-being. Continue reading

9. California Regulators Approve Changes to Support Microgrids as State Braces for Wildfire Season

Microgrids are getting a boost in California with an eye toward accelerating deployments in advance of the 2020 wildfire season thanks to actions voted on today by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The commission ordered a number of short-term modifications that large investor-owned utilities must implement immediately. Continue reading

grocery stores

Photo courtesy of Bloom Energy

10. Stop & Shop, Major Northeast Grocery Store Chain, to Install 40 Microgrids

Stop & Shop, a major retail chain in the US Northeast, announced today that it will install microgrids in 40 of its grocery stores in Massachusetts and New York. The microgrids will use Bloom Energy fuel cells. Continue reading

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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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