Schneider Electric, Citizens Energy Form Alliance for Microgrid, Renewable Projects

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Schneider Electric and Citizens Energy, a nonprofit company, formed a partnership to bring renewable energy and microgrids to communities in the Northeast, with plans to expand project development across the country.

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Solar panels near Monsignor Bojnowski Manor at Daughters of Mary campus. Photo courtesy of Schneider Electric

One of the most active companies in microgrids, Schneider will support Citizens Energy’s existing storage and microgrid projects in New England while developing new projects for local and regional nonprofit organizations and municipalities across the US, the companies said June 16.

The partnership provides a way for municipalities to secure funding for energy infrastructure development ahead of federal spending that could grow out of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for major investments in the power sector, including renewable energy and microgrids. The White House is hashing out the details of the plan with US lawmakers.

Citizens Energy uses energy-as-a-service model

The companies’ first joint project is a microgrid at a caregiving facility in Connecticut.

Citizens Energy is funding the microgrid using the energy-as-a-service business model so it can be built without any upfront costs to the facility. 

The nonprofit expects to develop other microgrid projects for critical community facilities like schools, hospitals and emergency response centers.

Citizens Energy is a partner on the 800-MW Vineyard wind project, set to be built off the coast of Massachusetts. When the wind farm starts operating, expected in 2023, Citizens Energy will manage $1 million in annual spending on energy affordability and resiliency projects in communities affected by the wind farm. Projects could be built using the energy-as-a-service model, according to Citizens Energy.

“Schneider Electric is thrilled to solidify our relationship with Citizens Energy through this new strategic alliance,” said Donald Wingate, Schneider Electric vice president of utility and microgrid solutions.

“Their mission to ensure all people have access to clean energy resources for their basic needs is aligned with Schneider’s values and sustainability impact goals to bring smarter, greener infrastructure to life that contributes to economic growth and climate action,” Wingate said.

Increasingly, communities are trying to get affordable power that also addresses climate change, according to Joseph P. Kennedy II, Citizens Energy’s founder and chairman. 

“As a result of severe weather that has caused widespread power outages, this partnership is designed to protect vulnerable communities,” Kennedy said.

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Founded in 1979 by Kennedy, Citizens Energy started its microgrid business to increase communities’ capacities to meet peak energy demands with green power, while hardening and strengthening the distributed energy system.

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