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The year of microgrids, delayed for now

image credit: © Carolyn Franks

After a brutal 2019 for forest and wildfires out in California, utility companies were under significant fire to improve their operations, invest in long-deferred maintenance which sparked some of the fires, and begin looking into technology that would decentralize the energy grids and keep millions of residents suffering from necessary or caused black and brownouts. Among the burning questions on the minds of Californians after a trying year was how utilities and policymakers would build the state's resiliency against the increasingly regular fires. 

Lawmakers had several microgrid-related bills in the legislative coffers for this year's session, however, the coronavirus outbreak resulted in a significantly shortened session and most the bills were deferred until 2021. Only one, SB 1215, which aims to set up a fund to finance microgrids for local municipal utilities, is still alive. 

Delayed legislation includes an effort to have the state's growth council set up a grant program for local governments to build resiliency plans, especially those accustomed to blackouts, and a bill that would have sent solar-powered microgrids to schools throughout the state that were closed during safety power shutoff in 2019. 

Delayed progress has been the preeminent impact of the coronavirus on the country and world's energy sectors. Hopefully it only means that 2021 will be packed with legislations and projects moving forward that put the country and smaller jurisdictions back on track to reach energy resilience and clean power goals. 

Christopher Neely's picture

Thank Christopher for the Post!

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William Buchan's picture
William Buchan on Jun 9, 2020 8:29 pm GMT

Christopher, excellent post on a summary of CA microgrid bills!  Let's hope that the delayed bills make it back in the next legislative cycle...Bill Buchan, P.E.

 

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