Community Microgrid Initiative

Designing and staging Community Microgrids for resilience

Providing communities an unparalleled trifecta of economic, environmental, and resilience benefits

The Clean Coalition’s Community Microgrids are designed to provide indefinite, renewables-driven backup power to critical facilities. Our Community Microgrid Initiative will provide a standard methodology that any community can use to optimize and streamline the deployment of local renewable energy.

What is a Community Microgrid?

A Community Microgrid is a coordinated local grid area served by one or more distribution substations and supported by high penetrations of local renewables and other distributed energy resources (DER), such as energy storage and demand response. Community Microgrids represent a new approach for designing and operating the electric grid, relying heavily on DER to achieve a more sustainable, secure, and cost-effective energy system while providing indefinite, renewables-driven backup power for prioritized loads

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Our Community Microgrid Initiative projects

Goleta Load Pocket Community Microgrid

Spanning 70 miles of California coastline — encompassing the cities of Goleta, Santa Barbara (including Montecito), and Carpinteria — this highly transmission-vulnerable, disaster-prone region can benefit greatly from the resilience provided by Community Microgrids.

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Santa Barbara Unified School District Solar Microgrids

The Clean Coalition and Sage Energy designed and executed a state-of-the-art RFP process for a 28-year fixed-rate PPA for solar at 14 District sites, with full Solar Microgrids at 6 of those sites — including game-changing innovations that guarantee resilience benefits to the District.

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Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative

There is a unique opportunity to build back right in Montecito after a devastating wildfire and debris flow, while ensuring indefinite renewables-driven backup power for critical emergency response and recovery facilities. This initiative will also showcase the grid of the future.

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North Bay Community Resilience Initiative

This initiative aims to create a more robust, resilient energy system and lower the environmental impacts of housing and transportation, while maximizing clean local energy use with solar, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

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Valencia Gardens Energy Storage Project

Pairing innovative energy storage with an existing solar energy system at one of the largest solar installations in San Francisco, this project will provide an important example of using clean local energy to enhance grid stability in a dense urban environment.

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Residential Solar Microgrid

The Clean Coalition partnered with a homeowner in Montecito, California, to manage the development, deployment, and standardization of two Solar Microgrids, one for the main home and one for a guest house and orchard. This project will serve as a model for future Residential Solar Microgrids.

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Calistoga Community Microgrid Initiative

The City of Calistoga is in a Northern California region of high wildfire risk. A Community Microgrid will protect Calistoga from power outages related to wildfires — or any other disaster — as well as planned utility outages.

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Hunters Point Community Microgrid Project

This project showcases how a utility can deploy higher levels of local renewables to secure economic, energy, and environmental benefits for its customers, using technologies and methodologies that are readily available today.

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Long Island Community Microgrid Project

Aiming to achieve nearly 50% of its grid-area electric power requirements from local solar, this project sets the stage to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in transmission investments that would otherwise be required to deliver power to the region.

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Creating a scalable, replicable solution

Rather than continuing the slow process of evaluating local renewable energy projects one at a time, our Community Microgrid Initiative is creating a fast pathway to bring clean local energy online.

By modeling large areas of the distribution grid, we can efficiently identify greater distributed generation opportunities, allowing utilities and regulators to establish streamlined deployment plans. This systemwide approach enables large amounts of local renewables to come online in months rather than years.

The Clean Coalition is collaborating with electric utilities and technology firms to ensure that grid modeling software enhances visibility and management of energy at the distribution grid level. This advanced distribution grid modeling, which includes optimization analysis for both the location and mix of distributed energy resources, allows for a quick and accurate assessment of an individual substation’s potential capacity for local renewable energy. Utilities can then rapidly deploy local renewables in communities based on simplified integration scenarios, such as:

  1. Lower-cost capacity: The amount and location of local renewables that can be brought online, using existing voltage regulation and advanced inverters, with minimal investment in the distribution grid
  2. Medium-cost capacity: The amount and location of local renewables that can be brought online with cost-effective storage and some investment in the distribution grid
  3. Higher-cost capacity: The amount and location of local renewables that can island essential services with additional storage, local reserves, and more substantial investment in the distribution grid

These scenarios will guide utilities and regulators to determine appropriate local capacity targets for renewable energy and establish pathways to meet an area’s specified goals.

Community Microgrid configurations

The Clean Coalition is focusing on Community Microgrid configurations that incorporate combinations of various factors.


Microgrid examples in California and throughout the US

While deploying a true Community Microgrid requires utility cooperation, standalone microgrids are becoming more common around California and the US.

In addition to the Clean Coalition’s projects detailed above, we have compiled a list of some of the microgrids around the country, including in California.

See a sampling of microgrids around the country here. >>

Recent news

The latest in clean local energy

Learn about our innovative projects and initiatives on our blog, and see what others are reporting about our important work.

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In an op-ed for Energy Central, Communications Director Rosana Francescato reports on the need for commercial-scale solar.

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Rooftop solar is much more than just home solar

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