California Awards $27.3M to Demonstrate Microgrids and EV Charging

Feb. 4, 2015
California is on its way to building 10 new microgrid and EV charging projects with $27.3 million awarded this week in state funds.

The California Energy Commission staff has recommended $27.3 million in funding for 10 microgrid and electric vehicle charging projects as a result of a competitive solicitation  (PON-14-301.)

Announced February 3, the winners were among 40 projects that bid into a request for proposals by the November 17 deadline. The winners will provide more than $11 million in matching funds for the projects.

Microgrids won the bulk of the money; the remaining $5.5 million went to grid-linked charging stations.

The winners include three colleges:

  • Humboldt State University for a low-carbon community microgrid ($5M – the highest single award)
  • Chabot-Las Positas Community College District for a microgrid automation project ($1.52M)
  • University of California, Los Angeles to demonstrate plug-in electric vehicle smart charging and storage to support the grid ($1.98M)

San Diego Gas & Electric, the only utility winner, received $4.7 million for a photovoltaic microgrid.

Ingersoll Rand subsidiary, Trane, was awarded $4.99 million, with $2.2 million in matching funds for a microgrid at the Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The city of Fremont, California plans to install a microgrid at a fire station, which received $1.8 million from a proposal submitted by Gridscape Solutions, an energy software and services company with offices in Fremont, the UK and India.

Before the money is released, the awards must be approved by the CEC and funding agreements executed.

Like Connecticut,New York and other states cultivating local energy, California offered the money to demonstrate the technology’s worth and encourage more private investment.

Specifically, California sought low-carbon microgrids for critical facilities; high penetration renewable energy microgrids; and grid connected PV charging projects.

The commission hopes to achieve several goals through the grant program, such as identifying barriers to microgrid development and gaining better understanding of microgrid configurations that offer ratepayers highest value.

Originally, California offered  $26.5 million for the projects with funds from the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC). Later it added $776,625 to bring total funding to $27,276,625.

Below is a listing from the commission of the winners and bidders.

Project Group 1: Demonstration of Low-Carbon Microgrids for Critical Facilities

Project Group 2: Demonstration of High Penetration, Renewable Microgrids

Project Group 3: Demonstration of Advanced, Smart and Bi-directional Vehicle Charging

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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