Utilities Balk at Los Angeles County Plan for a Regional Microgrid Agency

A proposal by the County of Los Angeles to create a regional microgrid agency has drawn the ire of California's investor-owned utilities. But the county says the utility criticism is off target.  The county last month proposed a $41 million program that includes a regional microgrid agency to serve an area that encompasses roughly half of … [Read more...]

California Utility Tests Linear Generator to Reduce Diesel Use at Napa County Microgrid

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is deploying a 240-kW linear generator at a distribution system microgrid to see if the emerging technology can be used to reduce the use of diesel generators during emergencies or public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). Using an energy-as-a-sevice model, NextEra Energy Resources installed the linear … [Read more...]

Sunnyvale, California, and Others in Silicon Valley Exploring Microgrid Projects

Sunnyvale, California, is in the early stages of exploring a microgrid in a planned innovative district to boost energy resilience and meet clean energy goals. A city of about 150,000 people, Sunnyvale is creating an “ecological innovative” district covering close to 1,200 acres in an area called Moffett Park. The Sunnyvale City Council in … [Read more...]

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...]