US DOE Offers $600,000 in Awards for Top Performing Microgrids

June 28, 2014
The U.S. Department of Energy is offering $600,000 in awards for top performing microgrids. They will be judged on their ability to provide resilient, clean, efficient and cost-effective energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy is offering $600,000 in awards for top performing microgrids, which will be  judged on their ability to provide resilient, clean, efficient and cost-effective energy.

To participate,  microgrids must submit details about their design and operations by August 29.

The DOE seeks the data so that it can capture and share practical information about microgrids that communities can use to create more resilient power supplies. The grant program is part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan.

The DOE plans to give $100,000 in awards for top performing microgrids in each of the six categories:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Emergency shelters, including housing and schools
  • Municipal facilities, including police stations, fire stations, and water treatment plants;
  • Commercial facilities such as financial centers
  • Industrial facilities and activities, such as transportation and critical manufacturing
  • Other government facilities

Applicants must specify which of the categories the microgrid is competing in.

To qualify, a microgrid must produce more than 150 kW of generation and serve at least two critical facilities. The microgrid also must operate in the United States and use interconnected distributed energy resources that provide uninterruptible power to critical facilities and services during emergencies. The microgrid can be owned by customers, electric utilities, or independent entities.

In evaluating the applications, the DOE will assign  up to 25 points in each of four categories: resilient, clean, efficient and cost effective. Facilities with the highest combined score from all four categories will win the money.

To judge the microgrid’s resiliency, the DOE will look at such factors as black start capability, islanding and re-connecting ability, adequacy of generation and storage, and access to uninterruptible fuel supply.

Cleanness will be based on carbon dioxide emissions. Energy efficiency will be judged by comparing how much energy the load needed when the utility supplied the power versus when the microgrid became the supplier. And the DOE will calculate cost effectiveness of a microgrid based on on its net present value  in $/kW

Microgrids are encouraged to partner with local utilities in submitting their applications.

The DOE plans to judge the microgrids from Sept. 2-30, validate data from Oct. 1-20 and announce winners Oct. 22-31.

Application information is available here.

For more information, contact  [email protected].

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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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