California Energy Commission Funds Two Microgrid Projects

SACRAMENTO June 14, 2018 – The California Energy Commission approved grants for two microgrid projects that will help support California’s energy and climate change goals.

The Sonoma County Junior College District received nearly $5 million for a microgrid demonstration project at its Santa Rosa Junior College campus. The project plans to use photovoltaic solar power to meet 40 percent of the electricity needs at the campus. The project will reduce peak load, optimize energy use, provide support to the surrounding grid, and create a highly resilient power system by allowing the campus to provide emergency services during power outages.

The Energy Commission also approved $5 million to the Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation for a community-scale renewable energy microgrid at the Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport. The project will demonstrate the first multi-customer, front-of-the-meter microgrid with renewable energy generation owned by a community choice aggregation (CCA) with the microgrid circuit owned by an investor-owned utility. Community choice aggregation is a government-run energy program. The project will allow the CCA to participate in the California Independent System Operator wholesale electricity market and provide low-carbon resilience to a commercial airport and U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, which are critical emergency facilities in Humboldt County.

The grants are funded through the Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge, which supports clean energy innovations, strategies, and applications that help the state meet its energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

The Energy Commission approved the adoption of building energy efficiency standards for Marin County that will meet or exceed the state’s 2016 Energy Standards. The county will require all new single-family residences less than 4,000 square foot to be all electric, or if mixed fuel, to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent, or 20 percent below the 2016 standards if a photovoltaic system is included. New low-rise multifamily residential will be required to be all electric, or reduce energy consumption by 10 percent, or 15 percent if a photovoltaic system is included. New high-rise multifamily residential and new nonresidential construction will be required to be all electric or reduce energy consumption by 10 percent. The review satisfies a statutory requirement where local jurisdictions must present their findings on the new standard’s energy efficiency and cost effectiveness to the Energy Commission. Wi! th today’s action, the Commission has approved a total of 16 local ordinances providing greater energy savings than current state building energy efficiency standards.

The city of Weed received a $1.5 million 1-percent loan for energy conservation measures at city-owned sites, including light-emitting diode (LED) lighting upgrades, HVAC upgrades, and the installation of four solar photovoltaic systems. The changes are expected to save the city more than $96,000 in utility costs annually. San Diego County received a $260,000 1-percent loan to install demand controlled ventilation and more efficient interior and exterior lights at a nursing facility. The project is expected to save more than $75,000 in utility costs annually.

Funds for the loans come from the Energy Commission’s Energy Conservation Assistance Act program, which provides low and no-interest loans and technical support for energy efficiency projects.

More details are available in the business meeting agenda.

About the California Energy Commission
The California Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. The agency was established by the California Legislature through the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974. It has seven core responsibilities: advancing state energy policy, encouraging energy efficiency, certifying thermal power plants, investing in energy innovation, developing renewable energy, transforming transportation and preparing for energy emergencies.

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