$20M for Power Electronics R&D…California’s Microgrid Roadmap…Fort Custer Microgrid

Sept. 13, 2017
DOE offers $20M for power electronics, a key part of a microgrid…California sets date for final microgrid roadmap meeting..Eaton, Go Electric, Electricore move ahead on Fort Custer Microgrid.
DOE funds $20M for power electronics, a key part of a microgrid

Now that utility-scale solar costs only 6 cents/kWh on average, U.S. energy policymakers will no longer focus as heavily on driving down prices. Instead, they are turning an eye toward using solar to improve grid reliability and resilience — a key microgrid feature.

As part of the shift, the Department of Energy (DOE) is offering up to $20 million for research and development to advance power electronics technologies.

The technologies are used in solar microgrids and to link photovoltaic solar and the electric grid.

Power electronics help detect and fix grid problems, protect against physical and cyberattack, and assist consumers in managing their electricity use.

In all, the program is expected to yield public and private spending of nearly $100 million, with awardees contributing 20 percent of project budgets. The DOE is not calling the money offered “grants,” but instead is using the phrase “cooperative agreements,” which involve substantial federal oversight and consist of go/no-go technical milestones that ensure attentive stewardship of projects.

Applicants must submit mandatory papers by October 12; applications are due December 15. More details about the funding opportunity are available through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Solar energy currently supplies about 1.5 percent of U.S. electricity. Solar installations are up from 1.1 GW in 2007 to an estimated 47.1 GW in 2017—enough to power the equivalent of 9.1 million average American homes, according to the DOE.

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California sets date for final microgrid roadmap meeting

California will hold its final microgrid roadmap meeting 10 to 4 p.m. (Pacific Time), October 2, at the California Independent System Operator’s headquarters in Folsom.

California is developing the roadmap to help commercialize microgrids and make its electric grid more resilient and adaptable to future needs. At the final meeting, stakeholders will review a draft of the roadmap, the culmination of  four earlier workshops.

The final workshop is being hosted by the ISO, along with the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Participants should RSVP by September 28. Follow the web conference remotely here or call in, 1-877-369-5230, Access Code: 0499735#.

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Go Electric wins energy storage contract for Fort Custer Microgrid

Go Electric has won a $499,506 contract from non-profit Electricore for a demonstration microgrid project at the Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan.

Go Electric will deliver a 400 kW/160 kWh battery energy storage system (BESS) and will provide engineering support for the installation and commissioning of the BESS into a facility-wide microgrid. Go Electric will also support the integration of a microgrid controller provided by power management company Eaton.

The Michigan Army National Guard, which utilizes Fort Custer alongside several other units, is hosting the project. In addition to the 400 kW BESS, the microgrid includes 1.375 MW of legacy diesel generation and 720 kW of photovoltaic solar.

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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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