California Regulators Waive Key Standby Charges for Eligible Microgrids

In a win for microgrid developers, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) yesterday suspended a key component of standby charges for eligible microgrids. The July 15 decision to suspend capacity reservation charges is part of the CPUC’s multiphase effort to spur the commercial development of microgrids, with the upcoming phase … [Read more...]

PG&E Gets Nod to Help Locals Build Community Microgrids in California

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) plan for helping local governments and tribes set up community microgrids to protect critical facilities when there are widespread power outages. PG&E’s Community Microgrid Enablement Program, approved March 18, grew out of the commission’s … [Read more...]

PG&E Faces Backlash Over “Optional” Label for Microgrids in Certain California Fire Zones

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is facing backlash for its proposal to label microgrids “optional” in certain California fire zones, a label that critics say would nearly double the cost of developing microgrids and result in fewer coming online. The proposal emerged within a proceeding before the California Public Utilities Commission … [Read more...]

PG&E Taps Michigan Utility Exec to Lead Company

PG&E, California's largest utility, selected Patti Poppe to lead the company after it emerged from bankruptcy and is under pressure to bolster grid resilience in the face of wildfire threats. Poppe is a long-time utility executive at CMS Energy, based in Jackson, Michigan, and its utility subsidiary Consumers Energy, which has about 6.7 … [Read more...]

Did the Calistoga Microgrid Fail September 8? Nope.

Although it has a fully-ready microgrid, Calistoga, California experienced a series of unfortunate events that led to loss of power for more than 2,000 utility customers, a side effect of a preventative power shutoff in neighboring regions. On September 8 dangerous wildfire conditions caused Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to trigger … [Read more...]

Multi-Customer Microgrids: Rare, Difficult and the Future

When the switch is flipped on the Redwood Coast Airport Renewable Energy Microgrid, it will become the first multi-customer microgrid in Northern California and one of only a handful active in the US.  This inventive project aims to be a model for creating resilient communities, but should it be successful some of its more innovative … [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...]

PG&E: Partnering with Communities on Microgrids “Critically Important”

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) described partnering with communities on microgrids as “critically important” yesterday following approval by California regulators of the utility’s plan to use microgrids to reduce wildfire-related power outages. The approval was part of a larger order issued by the public utilities commission to … [Read more...]

Battery Storage for Microgrids Growing Globally, But Needs Utility Support

Energy storage systems are on the rise as a component of new microgrids or portable energy supplies that have traditionally used fossil fuel-based resources. But utilities need to undertake more widespread usage of storage on permanent microgrids, according to Guidehouse Insights. Peter Asmus, who developed the “Energy Storage for Microgrids … [Read more...]

California PUC Urged to Order Clean Energy Solicitation to Reduce Wildfire Outages

The California Public Utilities Commission should require Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to issue a clean energy solicitation this summer to reduce the effects of wildfire-related power shutoffs, according to Tesla and other stakeholders who are participating in a state microgrid proceeding. The call for the solicitation is in … [Read more...]