Electrification & Community Microgrid Ready (ECMR) guidelines

The North Bay Community Resilience Initiative (NBCRI) is developing guidelines to help communities move toward electrification and energy resilience. These guidelines will serve as models that municipalities around the country can adopt.

Electrification

Berkeley, California has banned the use of natural gas in new construction, with over 50 other cities in California poised to follow.

Going all-electric and eliminating natural gas from our homes and gasoline from vehicles results in a safer, cleaner environment. Additionally, eliminating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with natural gas helps address climate change, which is an underlying cause of the longer, more dangerous fire seasons in California. Going all-electric even saves money.

Preparing for Community Microgrids

Community Microgrids represent a new approach for designing and operating electric grids. Although connected to the larger power grid, during a power outage a renewables-driven Community Microgrid can “island” from the grid and keep critical facilities like fire stations, hospitals, and emergency shelters online indefinitely.

We have the technology but lack the policies and market mechanisms to deploy Community Microgrids widely. The Clean Coalition is working to move these forward — but we don’t have to wait for these to be fully developed to prepare for the Community Microgrid future. We can build or retrofit model structures now that will be ready to connect to Community Microgrids when the right conditions are in place.

ECMR guidelines

The ECMR design standard and economic analysis provides recommendations for the simple, inexpensive wiring and components needed to achieve full electrification and a facility microgrid — as well as the wiring and communications required for participating in a future Community Microgrid.

The Clean Coalition developed the ECMR guidelines in collaboration with a team of industry experts, including the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), General Microgrids, and others.

The ECMR guidelines are meant to enhance building codes and  to assist homeowners, developers, and electrical engineers to easily plan and install the necessary wiring and communications to be all-electric and Community Microgrid Ready.

The can be used by:

  • Building owners
  • Builders
  • Electrical engineers
  • Planning departments in the North Bay and beyond

The communication protocols suggested in the ECMR guidelines allow a building to store renewable energy and send it back to the grid based on signals from the utility or grid operator. This benefits building owners with revenue, and provides demand response, frequency regulation, and capacity to the grid or microgrid system.

The wiring costs for the suggested upgrades are minimal above the basic electrification wiring, and add significant value and resilience potential to the home and community.

The ECMR guidelines should be part of the reach code for any municipality that has ambitions for electrification and resilience.

North Bay Community Resilience Initiative (NBCRI)

The devastating wildfires that swept through North Bay, California counties in October 2017 were some of the most destructive and costly in California history.

With the NBCRI, we have the opportunity to rebuild the community from the ground up, while lowering the area’s environmental impacts, creating regional economic benefit, and helping to protect residents during future disasters.

Community Microgrids

The NBCRI model will inform future rebuilding efforts while promoting the transformative power of the Community Microgrid, a new approach for designing and operating electric grids. Although connected to the larger power grid, during a power outage a renewables-driven Community Microgrid can “island” from the grid and keep critical facilities like fire stations, hospitals, and emergency shelters online indefinitely.

Draft Resolution for Community Resilience

The NBCRI has also developed a Draft Resolution for Community Resilience. This resolution is a statement of intention by cities and municipalities to electrify structures and move toward resilience while designing programs, codes, and standards.

This template can be used by local governments to develop customized resolutions that highlight the importance of, and their dedication to, community resilience. A resolution is a document used in government and business to state an intention, gain consensus, and have a record so that it may be considered in future decision-making processes.

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