City of Salem Receives $1 Million From Oregon Department of Energy’s Community Renewable Energy Grant Program

Posted on October 24, 2022

City of Salem – 10/24/22 10:00 AM

SALEM, Ore. — The City of Salem, in partnership with Portland General Electric, has received a $1 million grant from the Oregon Department of Energy through the Community Renewable Energy Grant Program to construct Oregon’s first-ever community microgrid in Southeast Salem.

“I am really excited to see such an innovative renewable energy project of this kind move forward here in Salem. It is this kind of collaborative and forward-thinking work that demonstrates the City’s commitment to climate resiliency,” said Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett.

A microgrid is a local, small-scale electric grid comprised of one or more distributed energy resources (e.g. generator or solar panels). It is connected to, and operates in conjunction with, the main grid, and in the event of a power outage, it can isolate itself and operate independently.

What makes Salem’s new community microgrid unique is it is the first microgrid connected to PGE’s distribution system and can serve multiple customers independently in the event of a power outage. It will be able to supply emergency power to the City’s Public Works Building, six apartment buildings with 96 units, 34 homes, four government buildings and one business.

Also, unique to Salem’s community microgrid is the distributed energy resources that make up the microgrid – a PGE-owned battery and a city-owned solar installation – are not physically co-located.

“This is an exciting project that combines different renewable resources to add resiliency to the community and electric grid,” said Larry Bekkedahl, senior vice president of Advanced Energy Delivery at PGE. “It’s amazing to see what can happen when we collaborate with our customers and communities to shape the future of the grid.”

The new community microgrid will collect excess solar power from the Public Works Building and store it at the Salem Smart Power Center, ensuring the city has renewable energy on-hand for emergency use. The award also provides funding to increase the power storage at PGE’s Salem Smart Power Center, bolstering resiliency and the use of clean, renewable energy in the neighborhood.

Other microgrids that PGE has built serve the Oregon Military Department’s Anderson Readiness Center and the City of Beaverton’s Public Safety Center.

This project addresses multiple action items in Salem’s recently completed Climate Action Plan for increased resilience in the face of climate change and extreme weather events. The City’s Climate Action Plan was finalized and accepted by City Council in February 2022.

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