Optimizing policies and market mechanisms for Community Microgrids

Paving the way for more clean local energy

Community Microgrid deployments currently face a number of policy and market barriers. The Clean Coalition is developing policies and market mechanisms that will optimize the significant economic, environmental, and resilience benefits of Community Microgrids, to truly unleash these important clean energy delpoyments.

Community Microgrid configurations

The Clean Coalition is reviewing a number Community Microgrid configurations that incorporate combinations of these factors:

  • Direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) solar+storage couplings
  • Behind-the-meter (BTM) and wholesale distributed generation (WDG) proximities to the customer meter
  • Net energy metering (NEM) and Feed-In Tariff (FIT) rate tariffs
  • Rule 21 and wholesale distribution tariff (WDT) interconnection tariffs

The basic configurations:

  1. DC-coupled BTM solar+storage, using NEM and Rule 21
  2. AC-coupled BTM solar+storage, using NEM and Rule 21
  3. DC-coupled BTM solar+storage, using NEM and Rule 21 & WDT
  4. AC-coupled BTM solar+storage, using NEM and Rule 21 & WDT
  5. DC-coupled WDG solar+storage, using FIT and WDT
  6. AC-coupled WDG solar+storage, using FIT and WDT
  7. WDG storage, using FIT and WDT
  8. WDG solar, using FIT and WDT
  9. BTM solar+storage, using NEM

+ See the Community Microgrid configurations

Policies and market mechanisms

Solar panels in the foreground overlooking a brightly illuminated cityscape at night.

Community Microgrid configuration optimizations

To optimize economics for Community Microgrid sites, the Clean Coalition will investigate configurations for optimizing solar and/or storage for technical capabilities and economic benefits, including under existing rate and interconnection constraints. This investigation will design new and improved market mechanisms that truly optimize technical functionality and economic benefits for the grid, site owners, and communities.

Graphic overlay of mathematical and electrical engineering symbols on an image of utility poles and transformers.

Community Microgrid interconnection policy issues and enhancements

By identifying the interconnection issues associated with Community Microgrid deployments in California, we can define proposals that yield technical and economic enhancements for Community Microgrids in the future.

For each of the Community Microgrid configurations, the Clean Coalition will evaluate economic impacts of interconnection rules associated with Community Microgrid configurations from technical, cost, and scheduling perspectives, from the start of Community Microgrid projects through their commercial online dates. The economic impacts will consider available value streams.

Aerial view of an industrial outdoor battery storage facility with rows of large white battery units.

Dispatchable Energy Capacity Services (DECS) design

For most of the Community Microgrid configurations, the Clean Coalition will design a DECS market mechanism, or Dispatchability Adder, that will unleash the untapped value that Community Microgrids can provide in the form of fully dispatchable renewable energy. (The eighth configuration is solar-only and incapable of provisioning DECS.) The value of DECS to the Community Microgrid owner depends on the configuration of a Community Microgrid and the underlying rate and interconnection tariffs that govern those configurations. 

Dispatchable Energy Capacity Services (DECS)

A person's fingers placing the last piece into a jigsaw puzzle, which glows from beneath on a wooden surface.

Community Microgrid interoperability optimizations

The Clean Coalition seeks to optimize interoperability between Community Microgrid facilities and the systems operated by load-serving entities, the distribution grid operator, and the transmission grid operator. Interoperability between systems allows functional and economic relationships to be established. Interoperability possibilities and barriers will be identified, and interoperability recommendations will be defined.

A massive wildfire engulfs a hillside, with towering flames rising behind power transmission towers connected to a community microgrid at dusk.

Standardizing the value-of-resilience (VOR123) for Community Microgrids

It’s clear that there’s significant value from the indefinite renewables-driven backup power provided by Community Microgrids. However, a standard for valuing this resilience does not yet exist, which is hampering the market for Community Microgrids. The Clean Coalition is paving the way to unleash this important market by quantifying the value-of-resilience (VOR) in the form of a simple and standardized value, VOR123 — with resilience defined as the ability to keep critical loads online indefinitely during grid outages. 

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.

Middle-Class Californians Set To Pay Electricity Premium As State Makes Electric Car Push

The Washington Free Beacon reports on the Clean Coalition's analysis on California's fixed charge policy.

Read article

AB 2083: Modernizing Industrial Manufacturing Act

Industrious Labs and EarthJustice reports on AB2083, a bill that the Clean Coalition endorsed.

Read article

Exploring Clean Engineering: The Eco-Friendly Career of Chapman’s Computer Science Club Vice President, Tyler Lewis

Chapman University reports on a student's efforts in expanding and delivering renewable energy solutions while involved with the Clean Coalition.

Read article