California Offers up to $2M for Microgrid Modeling Tool to Quantify Value

Oct. 9, 2017
California is making up to $2 million available for development of a microgrid modeling tool that will help in quantifying the value of a project for both customers and the larger electric grid.

California is making up to $2 million available for development of a microgrid modeling tool that will help in quantifying the value of a microgrid for both customers and the larger electric grid.

The microgrid grant is part of a larger $9.074 million offering, called the Distribution System Modeling Tools to Evaluate Distributed Energy Resources (GFO-17-305), issued by the California Energy Commission to evaluate distributed energy resources (DER). The commission is attempting to produce modeling tools that can assist with the integration of high amounts of renewables and DER, including electric vehicles and microgrids.

For microgrids in particular, the commission wants to develop, test, and validate a publicly available modeling tool that determines the optimal size of the microgrid and best combination of DER within.

“Microgrids, being a built-up system of DER, can provide a variety of benefits to constrained areas of the grid, local communities, and disadvantaged communities. This resource planning tool must identify and assess the greatest value for microgrids by geographic location and use case (critical facility, high penetration renewables, others),” says the grant offering.

The tool must identify if the microgrid would benefit disadvantaged communities and reside within their borders. The commission also envisions the tool running “sensitivity cases” for fuel costs, load growth, and other parameters.

The grant winner must make the microgrid modeling tool freely available and offer support for at least two years.

Grants will a minimum of $400,000 and a maximum of $2 million. Any public and private entities and individuals may apply with the exception of investor-owned utilities and local publicly owned electric utilities.

The deadline to submit an application is December 1. The commission anticipates posting awards January 26. The application is available on the CEC website.

The grant offering is the second of two blocks of money made available for microgrids by California in recent months. In August the commission offered $44.7 million for projects that will help accelerate commercialization of microgrids, with an October 31 application deadline.

Track news about California’s microgrid modeling tool solicitation, and other microgrid offerings, by following Microgrid Knowledge on Twitter @MicrogridNews.

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, 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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