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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CMEP is intended to serve community-led microgrid projects. As such, the Distributed Energy Resources and grid-forming assets within the microgrid may be owned by customers, the community, the Community Choice Aggregator (CCA), or other third party as appropriate. PG&E will continue to own and operate the distribution system within the microgrid.
Each Project Resource within the microgrid will need to interconnect to PG&E’s system according to the appropriate interconnection tariff, either Rule 21 or the Wholesale Distribution Tariff. The interconnection process is handled separately and independently from the microgrid development process, and can take significant time. We suggest you view the information at www.pge.com/resilience and speak with a PG&E Resilience Coordinator about this when you are ready to get started.
The CPUC directs PG&E to use the most recent definition of “critical facilities” adopted in R.18-12-005 (Rulemaking to Examine De-energization of Power Lines in Dangerous Conditions) or a successor proceeding, as that definition may be updated from time to time, for purposes of the Community Microgrid Enablement Program.
The following definition of critical facilities was adopted in D.19-05-042 and expanded in D.20-05-051:
Check with your PG&E Resilience Coordinator for confirmation of your particular facility’s status.