Courtesy of Monterey Bay Community Power:
Monterey Bay Community Power announces the Microgrid SmartConnect Program, inviting the tri-county business community to partner on a localized electric grid project with a mix of generation sources. In addition to job creation and boosting local energy efficiency and resiliency, the Microgrid SmartConnect Program could provide much-needed access to electricity for rural businesses.
“Many of us in the agricultural community have dealt with limited or no access to electricity when we need it most – often times this is associated with opportunities to grow our business or simply strengthen our energy independence and efficiency,” shares Norm Groot, executive director for the Monterey County Farm Bureau and member of the MBCP Community Advisory Council. “Energy innovations like microgrids that can accelerate access to electricity and grow businesses in the process have tremendous economic implications for our region.”
As tri-county’s local electricity provider, MBCP has already made good on its foundational promise to deliver cleaner energy at a lower cost to all customers. Now MBCP is potentially putting local entities in a shared driver’s seat for local development projects that will provide economic and environmental benefits, as well as added energy resiliency.
“As city manager of Gonzales, I’ve been working hard to unlock economic development within my community through microgrids,” shares Rene Mendez. “Microgrids are a sustainable answer to our area’s longstanding issue of simply needing more power from the grid. This is a great step in the right direction by Monterey Bay Community Power.”
In common terms, a microgrid is a localized group of interconnected electricity sources and loads within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single, controllable entity with respect to the greater grid. A microgrid can either be connected to the grid or operate autonomously. By nature, micogrids offer greater flexibility around generating or using electricity, thereby increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
“Now that Monterey Bay Community Power has accomplished a very successful first year of service including retiring our start-up debts, delivering nearly $12 million to our community through rebates and energy programs, and building nearly all our financial reserves, we are excited to start turning some of our attention to local development opportunities,” shares MBCP CEO, Tom Habashi. “If all of the key variables align, a microgrid project could be a big win for MBCP and our customers.”
Monterey Bay Community Power is accepting applications for site hosts though May 10. Anticipated notice of application acceptance is May 22. After designating the Microgrid SmartConnect site MBCP will shift to the application and proposal process for the development phase of this program. The release for the Microgrid Project Request for Proposal (RFP) is scheduled for June 7. For more information about the Microgrid SmartConnect Program visit mbcp.org/solicitations/ or contact MBCP.
Monterey Bay Community Power is a Community Choice Energy agency established by local communities to source carbon-free electricity for Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties and now San Luis Obispo county. PG&E will continue their traditional role of delivering power and maintaining electric infrastructure. As a locally controlled not-for-profit, MBCP is not taxpayer funded and supports regional economic vitality by providing cleaner energy at a lower cost, supporting low-income rate payers, and funding local renewable energy projects. For more information, visit www.mbcp.org