Webinar: SDG&E’s state-of-the-art energy storage and microgrid systems – Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 11am PT
This one-hour webinar will take place on 29 January 2020.Read More
Unleashing Community Microgrids to deliver cost-effective resilience benefits to businesses, municipalities, and communities
Everyone understands that there is significant value to the resilience provided by indefinite renewables-driven backup power. However, no one has yet quantified the value of this unparalleled resilience.
A Value of Resilience (VOR) standard is sorely needed, and its absence represents a significant gap in the market for Community Microgrids while learning is still in the early stages.
At the Clean Coalition, we’re developing a standardized VOR metric to unleash this key market. Our goal is to make it simple to quantify VOR, starting with our VOR123 methodology, which standardizes VOR for critical, priority, and discretionary loads across all facility types.
This standardized VOR will help everyone understand that premiums are appropriate for Community Microgrids that can provide renewables-driven backup power to critical loads indefinitely, to priority loads almost constantly, and to all loads a lot of the time.
The Clean Coalition’s VOR approach will establish standardized values for resilience of three tiers of loads:
The Clean Coalition defines resilience as the ability to keep critical loads online indefinitely in the face of extreme or damaging conditions.
This goes beyond reliability, which is measured after only 5 minutes of grid outage. Resilience is driven by renewables with energy storage and demand response, and it is focused on reducing outage duration, cost, and impact on critical services.
Critical loads are those that are life-sustaining or crucial to keep operational during a grid outage — usually about 10% of a community’s or a facility’s total electrical load.
Our centralized energy infrastructure is costly, aging, inefficient, and a highly vulnerable security risk. Extreme weather events are occurring more frequently: from January through September 2017, the U.S. experienced 16 weather- and climate-related events that cost $1B or more, for a record-breaking total of $300B.
Lack of resilience comes with high costs:
Diesel generators are heavy polluters, concentrated in densely populated areas — compounding their health risks. They require monthly testing for proper maintenance, and spew the worst pollution during this testing. They’re expensive to operate and maintain, with diesel fuel costs rising. Plus, there is generally only enough diesel fuel to maintain power backup for two days, and replenishing diesel during a major disaster is not always possible.
Peaker gas plants are also polluters — with higher capital costs, plus far higher operations and maintenance costs, than renewable energy.
Gas lines are just as susceptible as power lines to ground disruptions from earthquakes and other disasters — and restoration of service for gas lines after earthquakes takes 30 times longer than restoration for electricity:
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
Community Microgrids provide communities an unparalleled trifecta of economic, environmental, and resilience benefits. They bring communities four benefits not provided by today’s centralized energy system:
Providing a standard methodology that any community can use to optimize and streamline the deployment of local renewable energy.
Our Community Microgrid projects:
There is not yet an agreed-upon VOR for any type of loads, including critical loads at facilities that are the most vital: critical community facilities like fire stations, hospitals, emergency shelters, and critical water and communications facilities.
A VOR standard is sorely needed, and its absence represents a significant gap in the market for Community Microgrids; as Microgrid Knowledge has noted, valuing resilience “is not so simple, yet may be the primary reason an organization installs a microgrid.”
At the Clean Coalition, we’re working to make it simple to value resilience, with our Value of Resilience (VOR) methodology.
The Clean Coalition’s VOR methodology standardizes VOR for Tier 1, 2, and 3 loads across all facility types.
Establishing a methodology on these load tiers ensures that the methodology can be easily applied to any type of facility. What’s important is not the type or size of a facility, but rather the stratification of its load across the three tiers. Each facility can determine how it wants to stratify between Tier 1, 2, and 3 loads.
This normalization of the load tiers is key to standardizing VOR. Currently, each facility requires an elaborate forensic accounting VOR process; because of this, VOR is rarely analyzed and available for monetization. The Clean Coalition’s VOR methodology, VOR123, fixes this by providing a standardized VOR for Tier 1, 2, and 3 loads based on the average kilowatts (kW) in each tier. That means that we only need to know a facility’s annual energy usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh), divide by 8,760 hours/year, and approximate its percentages of total load that are Tier 1, 2, and 3 — and then apply the established VOR123 values.
A standardized VOR will allow all stakeholders to effectively consider VOR when analyzing Community Microgrid economics. This will result in Community Microgrids being widely deployed, and far greater resilience for communities.
Based on the Clean Coalition’s modeling to date:
Resilience is worth $0.32 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of critical load (preliminary estimate, to be further refined)
Uses for the VOR tool:
A large corporate campus in Northern California was interested in deploying a Community Microgrid to keep their critical loads online during extended outages, as well as to serve as an emergency shelter for the community.
The Clean Coalition calculated the VOR for this deployment and found a high VOR with an impressive ROI:
Cost of resilience:
Value of resilience:
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