The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) has issued a request for information (RFI) as a preamble to a program for municipal microgrids that it plans to launch.
Funds for the program will come from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The state proposes that the municipal microgrids serve critical infrastructure and it has identified 16 critical sectors: agriculture and food; banking and finance; chemical and hazardous materials; commercial facilities; critical manufacturing; dams; defense industrial bases; government facilities; health care and public health; and nuclear reactors, materials and waste.
The RFI also seeks input on its definition of critical infrastructure — assets, systems, networks and functions, physical or virtual, that are so vital to Rhode Island that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating impact on security, economic security or safety.
The municipal microgrids must provide a public benefit — and the OER is seeking comment on how that should be defined. By way of example, the state described microgrids at schools that serve as emergency shelters, municipal complexes with 911 centers and senior centers with refrigeration for medication.
The RFI seeks information on three major components of the state’s microgrid plan: the types of microgrids that should be allowed to participate, the eligibility criteria and overall program design.
“We didn’t want to do a top down program design, where we would just issue an RFP or RFQ without a detailed understanding of what you might need,” said Shauna Beland, administrator of renewable energy programs for the OER, in a March 17 webinar.
Anyone may respond to the RFI, including technical consultants, state residents and businesses, microgrid developers and vendors, energy service companies, national labs, municipal officials, and municipal organizations. However, the state is particularly interested in responses from municipal officials.
Responses to the RFI are due April 9.