US DOE Offers $600,000 in Awards for Top Performing Microgrids

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The U.S. Department of Energy is offering $600,000 in awards for top performing microgrids, which will be  judged on their ability to provide resilient, clean, efficient and cost-effective energy.

To participate,  microgrids must submit details about their design and operations by August 29.

The DOE seeks the data so that it can capture and share practical information about microgrids that communities can use to create more resilient power supplies. The grant program is part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan.

The DOE plans to give $100,000 in awards for top performing microgrids in each of the six categories:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Emergency shelters, including housing and schools
  • Municipal facilities, including police stations, fire stations, and water treatment plants;
  • Commercial facilities such as financial centers
  • Industrial facilities and activities, such as transportation and critical manufacturing
  • Other government facilities

Applicants must specify which of the categories the microgrid is competing in.

To qualify, a microgrid must produce more than 150 kW of generation and serve at least two critical facilities. The microgrid also must operate in the United States and use interconnected distributed energy resources that provide uninterruptible power to critical facilities and services during emergencies. The microgrid can be owned by customers, electric utilities, or independent entities.

In evaluating the applications, the DOE will assign  up to 25 points in each of four categories: resilient, clean, efficient and cost effective. Facilities with the highest combined score from all four categories will win the money.

To judge the microgrid’s resiliency, the DOE will look at such factors as black start capability, islanding and re-connecting ability, adequacy of generation and storage, and access to uninterruptible fuel supply.

Cleanness will be based on carbon dioxide emissions. Energy efficiency will be judged by comparing how much energy the load needed when the utility supplied the power versus when the microgrid became the supplier. And the DOE will calculate cost effectiveness of a microgrid based on on its net present value  in $/kW

Microgrids are encouraged to partner with local utilities in submitting their applications.

The DOE plans to judge the microgrids from Sept. 2-30, validate data from Oct. 1-20 and announce winners Oct. 22-31.

Application information is available here.

For more information, contact

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of 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.