Massachusetts Funds 14 Microgrid Projects in 12 Communities

Elisa Wood

Massachusetts today named 14 microgrid projects that will each receive grants of $75,000 for microgrid feasibility studies.

Microgrid projects

South Boston is among the communities to win funding for a microgrid study

In doing so, Massachusetts became the second state in as many days to allot a block of money to microgrid projects. California yesterday chose 10 projects to receive a total of $51.9 million in matching grants.

The two states are pursuing different strategies to encourage microgrid development. California is applying funds to help the microgrid industry move more quickly from the demonstration stage into full commercialization. Massachusetts, on the other hand, is helping projects undertake feasibility studies to make a case that attracts private investment.

In all, Massachusetts is distributing $1,050,000 in grants to encourage microgrids that lower customer energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase energy resiliency.

“These assessments will provide critical insight into the potential benefits community-based microgrids could deliver to ratepayers across the Commonwealth,” said Stephen Pike, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which is administering the microgrid program. “While increasing resilience and lowering the cost of energy in these communities, we expect these projects will help to identify market barriers and provide models that can be replicated in cities and towns across the state.”

The microgrids will serve affordable housing facilities, hospitals, fire and police departments, gas stations, public schools, emergency shelters, grocery stores and water and wastewater treatment plants.

“Microgrid development is a strategic opportunity for the Commonwealth to transform the way we utilize our energy resources,” said Judith Judson, state energy commissioner. “These grants will provide necessary information for how communities can integrate microgrids into our diversified energy portfolio.”

The winners are:

  • Acton Water District
  • Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, South Boston
  • Resilient Urban Neighborhoods-Green Justice Coalition: Boston-Chinatown
  • Community Microgrid Anchored at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston
  • Partners HealthCare System – Charlestown Navy Yard
  • Resilient Urban Neighborhoods-Green Justice Coalition: Chelsea
  • Hanscom Microgrid, Hanscom Air Force Base
  • Hull Community Microgrid
  • Downtown Melrose
  • Montague Fire station, Police station and two schools
  • Palmer Microgrid
  • City of Pittsfield Downtown Microgrid
  • Golden Triangle Microgrid, Sandwich
  • Community Clean Energy Project – Worcester

More details on the winning projects can be found here.

The state’s microgrid program is in keeping with September 2016 executive order signed by Gov. Charlie Baker that lays out a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient state.

In June 2017, the administration announced the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, which awarded $1 million in grant funding to 71 towns and cities across the Commonwealth to provide communities with technical support, climate change data and planning tools to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience.

Learn more about Massachusetts microgrid projects at this year’s premier industry event, Microgrid 2018 in Chicago, May 7-9.