The Microgrids for Community Resilience (MCR) grant program (as created by House Bill 22-1013) is designed to build community resilience regarding electric grid disruptions through the development of microgrids. The Microgrids for Community Resilience grants will be awarded to cooperative electric associations and municipally owned utilities to establish microgrid resources for rural communities.
A microgrid is defined as a group of interconnected electric loads and distributed energy resources with clearly defined electrical boundaries that can function as a single, controllable entity with respect to the electric grid. Therefore, a microgrid can be connected to or disconnected from the electric grid to enable it to operate either in “grid-connected mode” or in “island mode.”
Update on the MCR Planning Grant Application:
The Microgrids for Community Resilience (MCR) Planning Grants application window is now closed. The first round of MCR Planning Grants were awarded to five utilities in July 2023. More information about the awardees can be found here.
Stay tuned for updates on MCR Construction Grants.
Update on the Department of Energy Formula Funding
The Colorado Energy Office expects to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy electric grid resilience formula funding (IIJA 40101(d)) in early September 2023. The application closely reflects the information presented at the November 17, 2022, stakeholder meeting and subsequent feedback. In addition to expanding funding for Microgrids for Community Resilience, Grid Hardening Grants for Small Utilities, and Advanced Grid Monitoring, the funding will support:
- Colorado Microgrid Roadmap (draft due July 2024, final due January 2025): To conduct the stakeholder engagement and study required by HB22-1249, CEO is soliciting vendors until August 25, 2023 at the Colorado Vendor Self Service (VSS).
- On the Colorado Vendor Self Service portal, click the "Public Access" option on the left side of the screen to visit the solicitations page.
- Enter "Microgrid" into the Keyword search bar at the top of the page to access the solicitation information.
Who Should Apply
The following eligibility requirements apply to all projects funded by House Bill 22-1013 (planning grants and construction/implementation grants*):
- Cooperative electric associations and municipally-owned utilities are eligible to apply.
- Proposed microgrid projects/plans resources must:
- Serve one or more eligible rural communities located within the applicant’s service territory. Rural communities are defined as a county with a population of less than 50,000 or a municipality/unincorporated area with a population of less than 25,000. The population criteria applies to the community/communities that the microgrid serves and is located in. You may refer to the Populations of Colorado Counties, Municipalities, and Unincorporated Areas for clarity on the definition of rural.
- Center around strengthening resilience to community-based anchor institutions and/or essential infrastructure. Community anchor institutions are schools; libraries; hospitals or other health-care facilities; law enforcement, emergency medical service providers, or other public safety agencies; government offices; community organizations that support marginalized communities; or other critical community service facilities.
*Pending U.S. DOE funding, which will expand a portion of federal dollars to be available to all utilities in Colorado for construction/implementation grants.
The Application Process
Statutory Requirement: House Bill 22-1013 requires the Division of Local Government to “develop a grant application process before January 1, 2023, post information about the process, including any application form developed and deadlines set, on the Department’s website.” The Microgrids for Community Resilience Overview (Update as of December 30, 2022) serves to meet this requirement.
The following resources include all application information that was shared for the first round of MCR Planning Grants (the application period was from February 6, 2023- March 31, 2023).
- Microgrids for Community Resilience Planning Grant Notice of Funds Availability and Application Guidelines
- Microgrids for Community Resilience Planning Application Narrative Template
- Climate/Social Risk and Vulnerability Mapping Tool Guidance
The Colorado Resiliency Office hosted the following webinar and technical assistance office hours in partnership with grid resiliency consultants to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Planning for Microgrids Webinar and Other Resources
- A slide deck and takeaways document are also available.
A compiled list of state and federal technical assistance is available. DOLA has heard from stakeholders that a list of vendors that provide microgrids-related services is helpful for soliciting RFPs and understanding the offerings available. We have compiled a non-exhaustive list of vendors who have reached out to us. Please note: DOLA has not vetted these vendors and are not involved in the vendor selection processes. Complete the Microgrids Vendors Servicing Colorado Request Form if you would like to be added to the list. For removal from this list, please email Julia Masters.
Year 1 funding applications for planning grants are now closed. The first round of MCR Planning Grants were awarded to five utilities in July 2023. More information about the awardees can be found here.
The following reflects only House Bill 22-1013 funding that is appropriated for Year 1 (awards made in CY 2023). Any unused funding will roll over into Year 2.
- Planning Grants: $399,000 is appropriated for this cycle.
- Applications should not exceed the maximum award of $36,000.
- There is a 25% match requirement.
The three resources that provide all necessary information to submit a Microgrids for Community Resilience Planning Grant Application by the March 31, 2023 deadline are listed in the Application Process section.
The latest guidance on implementation/construction grants can be found in Microgrids for Community Resilience Draft Guidelines (V2 as of December 29, 2022). Final Microgrids for Community Resilience Implementation/Construction Grant Guidelines will be posted in 2023 pending United States DOE Formula Funding.
Year 1 funding applications for implementation/construction grants are expected to open in late summer 2023. Grants will be available on the Department of Local Affairs Grants Portal.
The following reflects only House Bill 22-1013 funding that is appropriated for Implementation/Construction Grants in Year 1 (awards made in CY 2023). Any unused funding will roll over into Year 2.
- Total appropriated: $1,295,261
- Applications should not exceed the following maximum awards: $1,005,000
- There is a 33% match requirement
Implementation/construction award process timelines and additional funding are dependent on proposed 40101(d) Formula Funding funding. Department of Local Affairs/Colorado Energy Office will keep interested applicants updated as DOE clarifies their timeline for delivering funds.
This recorded workshop covered microgrids in Colorado; background on the MCR program, including the recent launch of the MCR planning grants; case studies and examples of microgrid projects that are community-based; a presentation from our U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contractors on technical assistance that is available free to applicants, including a demo of a microgrids modeling tool. A slidedeck, recording, and takeaways document are available.
Department of Local Affairs and Colorado Energy Office held a virtual public hearing to gather comments on proposed uses of the 40101(d) funding (which includes our proposal to utilize House Bill 22-1013 Microgrids for Community Resilience funding as match) on November 17, 2022 from 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM. See the Notice of Public Hearing for full details.
Department of Local Affairs and Colorado Energy Office received public comments from November 17 - December 12.
The public comments helped to inform the Microgrids for Community Resilience Program rollout, including the Microgrids for Community Resilience Overview (Update as of December 30, 2022).
Direct inquiries regarding initial program interest to your Regional Manager. Use the other program contacts once the initial process with your Regional Manager is complete.