Pacific Gas and Electric Co. launched its Microgrid Incentive Program and handbook, providing funding, expertise and guidance for building community, local and tribal government-proposed multi-customer microgrids.
The program is a new, statewide $200 million competitive grant program intended to fund clean energy community microgrids in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
The California Public Utilities Commission authorized and approved the new program, allocating $79.2 million in project funding for PG&E, $83.3 million for Southern California Edison, and $17.5 million for San Diego Gas and Electric.
Selected projects can receive up to $15 million in funding each for the design and development of a multi-customer, front-of-the-meter community microgrid.
A community microgrid is a group of customers and distributed energy resources — such as a solar array and battery — within clearly defined electrical boundaries with the ability to disconnect, operate independently from, and reconnect to the grid — a capability also known as "islanding."
With their ability to operate independently from or in parallel with the grid, microgrids strengthen the resilience of communities by providing reliable power during outages or emergencies. Microgrids also enable efficient energy management and potential cost savings, while integrating renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
A community microgrid's distributed energy resources can also participate in the statewide wholesale market for energy and related services — creating a potential source of earnings for the asset owner and providing an additional buffer for the California grid.
The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid is the first fully renewable, multi-customer microgrid deployed in PG&E's service area. It serves as the model for additional multi-customer microgrids to be deployed in California, and the Community Microgrid Enablement Tariff was also a product of its development.