Programs Spotlight: Reliability and Resiliency

Programs Spotlight: Reliability and Resiliency

MCE’s Programs Spotlight series highlights the power of MCE: the power of people over profit. By putting more renewable energy on our shared grid, we clean up polluting fossil fuels. MCE’s efforts on climate justice and energy innovations help vulnerable populations qualify for programs like electric vehicles, energy storage, workforce development, and energy savings. We all deserve a fossil-free future that combats climate change and gives us cleaner air to breathe.

Reliability

Since MCE began serving customers in 2010, we have made bold and consistent efforts to increase access to clean energy services and technologies. Part of these efforts include strategies to ensure grid reliability through clean energy resources. Traditionally, California relies on natural gas plants to meet customer needs when energy demand is higher than expected. While these facilities have a fuel source that can be called upon to produce power as needed, they can take up to an hour or more to come online, are emissions-intensive, and not very energy efficient. MCE is using our programs to decrease demand during these time periods to reduce the need for polluting fossil fuel resources while reducing the risk of outages. Peak FLEXmarket MCE’s Peak FLEXmarket, formerly known as Demand FLEXmarket, focuses on payouts to help shift daily load during the summer season. The program will fund the shifting of 20 MW of customer demand out of peak hours (4 – 9 p.m.) and offer additional incentives for “Resiliency Events” that help decrease the risk of outages during Flex Alerts. Created in partnership with Recurve, Peak FLEXmarket is designed to support decarbonization and climate adaptation by integrating clean distributed energy resources, such as batteries, smart thermostats, and EV charging equipment into a dispatchable resource. The program focuses on reducing summer peak hours via a flexible resource that meets grid needs and helps the customers who will benefit most. MCE Sync  The MCE Sync program launched in October, 2021 and will enroll 200 customers in the initial pilot stage. Drivers who charge their EVs at home will download an app to allow MCE to direct their charging pattern away from the 4 – 9 p.m. peak hours and toward prime solar production hours. Customers will be given a $10 monthly bill credit for participating and can also reduce costs by shifting charging to hours when electricity is less expensive.

Resiliency

Energy resiliency depends on a reliable and regular power supply and having contingency measures in the case of a power outage. MCE is working with customers and community partners to ensure access to cleaner backup power resources and ensure that energy resiliency upgrades are available to our most vulnerable populations. Energy Storage Program MCE’s Energy Storage Program created a $6 million resiliency fund to help alleviate grid outages that threaten our community’s safety, health, and welfare.The program launched in July 2020 with the goal of deploying 15 megawatt-hours of customer-owned, behind-the-meter battery energy storage systems over two years. A priority is placed on investments in facilities and residences that support low-income and medically vulnerable customers. Battery energy storage is also available to all MCE commercial and public agency customers with a priority given to small and medium businesses and critical facilities that provide essential services during public safety power shutoff events and/or natural disasters, such as schools, community centers, emergency shelters, fire stations, and health centers. YETI Battery Giveaway MCE offered portable batteries to 100 medically vulnerable residents in partnership with  the Marin Center for Independent Living. The giveaway targeted customers who have accessibility and functional needs that require electricity for life-supporting medical equipment, such as refrigeration to safely store medications, ventilators for respiratory support, and mobility aids like electric scooters or wheelchairs. The portable batteries allow customers to keep their medical devices powered with a clean, quiet, pollution-free technology, so that they can remain at home during shorter outages.Customers can easily move these portable batteries if evacuation becomes necessary. Self-Generation Incentive Program Financial incentives are available for residents interested in purchasing and installing a battery for minimal power interruption to their homes during an outage. The incentives are provided through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). All residential customers in MCE’s service area can apply online. At this time only Equity Resiliency Funds are still available for residential customers.

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