In the face of California’s widespread power shutoffs and the rise of dirty fossil-fuel-powered back-up generators due to increases in extreme fire weather, The Climate Center has launched the Community Energy Resilience initiative, which establishes a decentralized power system including community microgrids to serve all Californians —prioritizing low income, high fire risk communities first— with clean, local power and storage. This system will reduce the number of planned and unplanned outages, ensure that essential health, fire, police, food, water, and other services would remain powered in communities during outages, and enable utilities to better target specific outages from the larger grid.
How To Get There
To fully implement community microgrids statewide, our goal is to transform state regulatory policies and institutions by 2022 so that thousands of small-scale distributed energy producers can be compensated for providing local services. We will need market signals, starting with increased state funding, to implement community microgrids at scale. New legislation will also advance novel performance-based metrics for utilities, enabling them to fully support Community Energy Resilience programs in partnership with a range of stakeholders, including lower-income neighborhoods, clean energy developers, and technology companies.