Movement on pro-microgrid legislation in Congress and Colorado

April 11, 2022
Last week brought movement on bills in Congress and the state of Colorado that could help bolster microgrids.

Last week brought movement on bills in Congress and the state of Colorado that could help bolster microgrids.

With the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) stalled, House Democrats in the US Congress last week tried another tactic to move climate legislation forward, this time seeking a path through the Defense Production Act.

The act gives the president the authority to speed output of materials and services for national defense. 

Spearheaded by Reps. Cori Bush, D-Mo., and Jason Crow, D-Colo., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the newly introduced Energy Security and Independence Act would give President Biden the ability to ramp up production of renewable energy and energy efficiency systems and technologies.

The bill does not specifically mention microgrids, but does call for prioritizing “distributed energy resources and storage to boost climate resilience and equity,” which could easily encompass microgrids.

Think Microgrid, an affiliate of Microgrid Knowledge, reports that the bill appears to offer access to funding in the short term determined by a task force.

It falls short, however, in providing any specific microgrid incentives. In contrast, the Build Back Better Act would provide a 30% tax credit for microgrid controllers.

Sponsors of the Energy Security and Independence Act evoked concerns about energy security when they introduced the bill on April 6.

Today, with rising prices on essential items and Russia’s horrific war in Ukraine, it is clear now more than ever: Addressing climate change and energy dependence is not just an environmental issue, it is a matter of national security,” said Sen. Sanders.

Colorado considers microgrid road map
Meanwhile, legislation was re-engrossed in the Colorado General Assembly last week that would take a more direct approach to increasing microgrid development. 

The Electric Grid Resilience And Reliability Roadmap (HB22-1249), introduced by Rep. Tracey Bernett, a Democrat from Boulder County, calls for identifying and prioritizing critical facilities, infrastructure and high-risk communities for microgrid development. 

In addition, the road map would:

  • Identify the potential benefits of developing microgrids.
  • Show existing and potential threats to grid resilience and reliability and how microgrids may help to overcome the threats.
  • Recommend potential legislative or administrative changes needed to help facilitate projects, including needed statutory or rule changes.

The state energy office would publish a draft of the road map on its website by July 1, 2024, and submit a completed version by March 1, 2025. Rep. Bernett describes why she filed the bill in an article she wrote for the Daily Camera.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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