California Offers R&D Grants for Microgrid Controls to Manage Renewables
California is offering $11.7 million for research & development into smart grid technology, including microgrid controls, to help reach the state’s goal of 20 GW of renewable generation by 2020.
Issued November 30 by the California Energy Commission, the grant solicitation focuses on smart technologies that make it easier to integrate large volumes of renewable energy onto the utility distribution system, increase grid reliability and shorten grid downtime.
“With limited capacity for two-way power flows and without control and communication at the point of use, California’s existing distribution system is not equipped to fully realize the benefits of distributed generation,” says the request for proposals (RFP). “Upgrades will include modernizing distribution equipment, enhancing automated distribution systems, and improving control over distributed energy resources.”
Money is being offered for R&D into three areas: 1) smart grid operation and management practices, 2) distribution automation enhancements, and 3) bi-directional distribution equipment, devices, and technologies.
Microgrid controls fall into the second category, which seeks technology that can connect more renewables at the distribution level and provide greater control over the operation of distributed energy resources.