California Public Utilities Commission authorizes community microgrids outside of high fire areas
As part of its mission to build a stronger, more resilient energy grid for the hometowns it serves, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is paving the way for more community-proposed microgrid projects to be built in its North Service Area. – and Central California. .
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved PG&E’s request to update its Community Microgrid Enablement Tariff (CMET), addressing the eligibility requirements of where to build microgrids connected to PG&E’s electrical distribution infrastructure.
Prior to this October 2021 update, community microgrids — or self-sustaining power systems serving a specific community or geographic area — were only authorized in CPUC-designated High Fire Threat Districts as a mitigation measure against extreme weather and Public Safety Power Shutoff events. Under the new rules, communities across PG&E’s service area can now pursue a microgrid as part of their unique energy resilience plans.
“Microgrids are a critical part of the sustainability and climate resilience goals of many of our customers and homes. By expanding the rules where these microgrids can be built, we are able to remove barriers that would have prevented projects from moving forward, and instead work together to make these projects a reality,” said Quinn Nakayama, director of grid planning and PG&E at PG&E. innovation.
The expanded suitability builds on PG&E’s Community Microgrid Enablement Program, launched in April 2021 to support the development of microgrids around critical facilities in areas of high fire threat.
To date, PG&E has engaged with more than three dozen communities and clients to explore potential financial and infrastructure support options for developing microgrids and resilience solutions through the CMEP.
News item from PG&E