Secure Energy Resilience for your Community and its Critical Facilities


If your community is seeking critical facility energy resilience for extreme weather, Public Safety Power Shutoff events or other events, PG&E’s Community Microgrid Enablement Program can help. Through Enhanced Technical Support and cost offsets for certain distribution system upgrades, CMEP can assist your community in taking its resilience ideas from concept to reality.


What is a Community Microgrid:


Community Microgrid Enablement Program Infographic


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A community microgrid is a group of customers and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) within clearly defined electrical boundaries with the ability to disconnect from and reconnect to the grid.


These microgrids are typically designed to serve the portions of communities that include community resources, such as:


  • Hospitals
  • Police and fire stations
  • Gas stations and markets

Each community microgrid is uniquely designed by the community to address their specific goals and needs. A range of factors determine the size of the microgrid, what community services are served and what elements are included in the design.

Multi-customer community microgrids are new, and CMEP seeks to empower communities in overcoming the technical, financial, legal and regulatory challenges involved in deploying them. While CMEP provides tools and information for all forms of resilience solutions including behind-the-meter installations, the focus of the program is on facilitating the development of front-of-the-meter, multi-customer microgrids.


CMEP provides the following:


  1. Web-based tools and information at www.pge.com/resilience
  2. Enhanced Technical Support – See How the Program Works for more information
  3. Community Microgrid Enablement Tariff (PDF, 159 KB)
  4. Cost offsets for certain distribution system upgrades – See Program Benefits – Financial Support for more information

Technical Support


  • PG&E provides a number of self-service resources on www.pge.com/resilience, including:
    • CMEP Resilience Planning Guide
    • Community Microgrid Technical Best Practices
    • Planning tools and interconnection information
    • Information on federal, state, and local incentives and financing
  • PG&E will provide Enhanced Technical Support for Community Microgrids from concept exploration through project completion. See How the Program Works for further information.


Financial Support


CMEP will cover the cost of certain PG&E equipment necessary to enable the safe islanding of an eligible community microgrid, up to a cap of $3 million per project.


Examples of the types of equipment to be covered include:


  • Equipment to enable a section of the grid to disconnect from the larger grid (e.g., isolation devices)
  • Equipment to operate the microgrid (e.g., PG&E’s microgrid controller)
  • Equipment to ensure it is safe to operate (e.g., fault protection devices and hardening)

The CMEP program does not cover generation or storage-related costs, nor the costs to upgrade the hosting capacity of the distribution or transmission system to accommodate the community microgrid.


CMEP funding is subject to availability, and is available through the duration of the program, which is currently approved through December 31st, 2022.



Other Support


The CPUC has approved PG&E’s pro forma Community Microgrid Enablement Tariff (CMET) (PDF, 159 KB) for use on an experimental basis as part of the Community Microgrid Enablement Program. This document addresses eligibility, roles and responsibilities, and the relationship to existing tariffs.

CMEP is designed to serve communities with the highest resilience needs. As such, in order to be eligible for CMEP cost offsets, the project must meet certain criteria.


  • Location: The project must be located either in
    • a Tier 2 or Tier 3 High Fire Threat District, or
    • an area that has been impacted by a prior Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event, or
    • an area "prone to outages" 1
  • Customers served: The project must meet the needs of at least one Critical Facility (see FAQ for definition), plus at least one additional customer within the microgrid boundary.
  • Community Microgrid Parameters: The project must include interconnected exporting energy producing resources (Project Resources) that do not exceed 20MW in aggregate.
  • Community Interest: Must have demonstrated support with a letter of interest from local government, Tribe, or Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) having jurisdiction over the area.

The project must also meet the requirements of the Community Microgrid Enablement Tariff (PDF, 159 KB), which governs the eligibility, development, and operation of Community Microgrids.



1 Defined for this purpose as the top 1% Worst Performing Circuits excluding Major Event Days from PG&E’s Annual Electric Reliability Report, in either the AIDI or AIFI category, in either of the last 2 years

PG&E will prioritize two categories of projects.


  • Disadvantaged Vulnerable Communities – PG&E will prioritize projects in which at least one customer served by the microgrid is located in an area that meets at least one of the following criteria:
    • Disadvantaged Communities as defined by the most recent version of CalEnviroScreen
    • Tribal lands
    • Zip codes with more than 50% of residents enrolled or eligible for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (“CARE”) rate
    • Zip codes identified as “Rural”, per the Goldsmith Modification
  • PG&E has created a separate funding bucket specifically for the use of disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, within the allocated budget for distribution upgrade cost offsets. Additionally, PG&E will prioritize access to our technical support resources, in the event there is insufficient capacity to support all project requests.

    View PG&E's Outreach Plan for Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Communities (PDF, 378 KB)
  • Projects that are most urgent for public health, safety, and public interest – This prioritization will be made through an assessment of the urgency of the risks facing the community, the timeliness / executability of the solution, and the potential impact to communities. PG&E will prioritize Enhanced Technical Support for projects based on the following criteria:
    • Previously impacted by PSPS or significant outage events
    • Future potential for PSPS / outages
    • Number of critical facilities served, and benefitting scope of the facilities
    • Benefit to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities
    • Higher levels of renewable energy
    • Grid feasibility and level of effort given grid features in the area

How will projects in these communities be prioritized? PG&E will prioritize access to Enhanced Technical Support, in the event there is insufficient capacity to support all project requests.

CMEP’s Enhanced Technical Support is structured in 3 stages, each with distinct objectives, and serves to facilitate the development of a multi-customer microgrid from initial concept exploration, through solution assessment, and finally to solution execution.



Project Vetting


1. Project Vetting


Goal: To help you determine what resilience approach may best meet your community’s specific needs.


What’s involved? First, a CMEP Resilience Coordinator will work with you to collect basic information regarding your community’s goals and needs, as well as specific project characteristics, if known. Then, a subject matter expert will help you understand your community resilience options at a high level through one or more conversations.




Communication


2. Solution Assessment


Goal: To support your community and your technical/engineering partner(s) in planning and designing a robust multi-customer critical facility resilience solution.


What’s involved? Once it is established that a multi-customer community microgrid is desired, PG&E will provide project-specific technical guidance and design support to you and your technical/engineering partner(s). PG&E’s Community Microgrid Technical Best Practices (PDF, 1.1 MB) will be a valuable resource in this stage. The stage begins with a technical consultation and culminates in a Microgrid Islanding Study to ensure the operational safety and stability of the microgrid during islanded mode.


Note that the interconnection of any Distributed Energy Resources within the proposed microgrid are studied separately from the Microgrid Islanding Study and are independent of the CMEP process. Applicants will need to submit an Interconnection Application for any such DERs, if they have not already done so.




Solution Execution


3. Solution Execution


Goal: To ensure that a) the appropriate agreements are in place regarding the cost and ownership of the facility upgrades and the operation of the microgrid, and b) the execution of your multi-customer microgrid is coordinated across all PG&E functions.


What’s involved? This final stage involves development and execution of a Project Special Facilities Agreement which will identify the costs and ownership of the necessary facility upgrades, a Microgrid Operating Agreement, and coordination of the work on PG&E’s distribution system.

Get started


  1. Check our self-service resources
    Energy resilience planning can be complex. We’re here to make it easier for you and your community. Learn more by reviewing our Resilience site (www.pge.com/resilience), and in particular the CMEP Resilience Planning Guide (PDF, 658 KB)
  2. Contact a Resilience Coordinator
    If you believe your project may meet the eligibility criteria described above, and you have budget identified, contact us at communitymicrogrids@pge.com. Include as much detail as possible on the project, including its location, resilience objectives, customers to be served, and size and type of planned or existing Distributed Energy Resources. Someone will get back to you within two business days with next steps.

Frequently asked questions