Eversource and officials with UNH and the town of Durham say they’re planning a microgrid in that college town that bring all the benefits that such grids can bring, including resiliency, shaving of peak energy costs and cleaner power.
Unlike a similar announcement that I wrote about for the town of Westmoreland, however, this one has no details. The press release for the Oyster River Clean Innovation Project says it’s still in the “planning and development stage” and that’s about it.
Microgrids and other non-wires-alternatives are wicked complicated, both technically and legally, so it’s not unreasonable to take a long time to work out the wrinkles. For example, consider this story about a well-advanced microgrid project in San Diego that has suddenly run afoul of ownership issues.
Eversource is putting portions of these two projects in its rate case before the Public Utilities Commission, its overall request for the amount of money it can make selling electricity over the next year or so. PUC Consumer Advocate Don Kreis wondered on Twitter if these cool and useful projects are “glitter bombs” (his excellent term), designed at least partly to make the utility’s request easier to swallow once it gets filed. (UPDATE: He just wrote a column about this – check it out!)