California Gov. Brown Pushes Microgrids…PG&E Seeks Energy Storage

Jan. 7, 2015
In California energy news this week, Gov. Brown pushes microgrids, while PG&E ramps up its search for energy storage.

California Gov. Jerry Brown pushed microgrids and a doubling of energy efficiency in buildings, in his inaugural speech this week.

Brown also wants to increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard from 33 percent to 50 percent.

The governor described an emerging distributed grid that will help the state reduce greenhouses gases.

“I envision a wide range of initiatives: more distributed power, expanded rooftop solar, microgrids, an energy imbalance market, battery storage, the full integration of information technology and electrical distribution and millions of electric and low-carbon vehicles,” Brown said.

He added that it will “require enormous innovation, research and investment,” to meet the goals. “And we will need active collaboration at every stage with our scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, businesses and officials at all levels.”

Brown also called for doubling the efficiency of existing buildings, making heating fuels cleaner and reducing petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, the California Energy Commission is scheduled to announce grant winners this month from a $26.5 million solicitation (PON-14-301) issued in July.  The commission is offering $20.5 million for low-carbon microgrids at critical facilities (police, fueling stations, supermarkets, etc.) or those that include renewable energy. The request for proposals also makes available $6 million for projects that demonstrate smart grid and bi-directional vehicle charging.

Separately, PG&E said this week it is encouraging bids for energy storage as part of its January 5  solicitation for up to 1,600 GWh of renewable energy.

To be eligible, the storage system must use renewables for charging. The utility also seeks descriptions of the operating parameter and limitations associated with dispatch of the storage.

The utility will negotiate storage contract terms on a case by case basis. Winners will receive payment for RPS-eligible product plus storage for all delivered MWh, provided that the storage operates as agreed to in the contract.

PG&E last month issued its first energy-storage only request for offers, as part of a state mandate that utilities secure 1.3 GW of energy storage by 2020. the utility is seeking 74 MW of transmission- and distribution-connected energy storage.

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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, 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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