Community Microgrids

The CCEP was selected for a Community Microgrids Feasibility by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

Through the Community Microgrids initiative, two strong partners – the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) and the City of Worcester – explored utilizing new and existing solar PV and battery storage technologies to expand electric bus routes in the Worcester region.

The feasibility study found that outdated electricity infrastructure in Worcester would make a grid-connected system financially prohibitive.

So E4TheFuture shifted gears, focusing on an off-grid strategy to address the WRTA’s electric transportation needs. This approach, if funded, this first of its kind microgrid will provide resilience in both buildings and transit.

Engineering for the feasibility study work was conducted in two parts: first by MassCEC-funded Willdan and second by E4TheFuture-funded American Microgrid Solutions.

Local Benefits

Benefits to the region would include:

  • Economic Development: more efficient, resilient, and potentially lower cost electric bus transit will not only benefit the existing community, but would also provide an existing draw for those relocating to Worcester;
  • Resilience and Reliability: expanding electric bus options, storage, and critical facility partnerships that will create resilience to power disruption;
  • Increased Mobility: providing clean transit options will increase mobility for those unable to afford personal transportation;
  • Decarbonizing Electricity in Buildings and Transportation: solar and storage powered buildings and electric buses reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide tremendous environmental benefit.

Replicability

Partnerships with municipalities and their local transit authorities provide the basis for replication in Massachusetts and beyond. As more communities begin to think about sustainability, resilience and electrification, the CCEP in Worcester may serve as a lasting model.