Community Microgrid

This project will help you and your neighbors stay safe in a power outage. Using clean sources of energy, we are creating a microgrid, which will provide reliable electricity to participating buildings even when the grid has an outage!

Outages can occur for many reasons like storms, wind, damage to power lines, or too many people using electricity at the same time. As climate change causes more extreme weather events, we can prepare for more and more outages by building this virtual microgrid.

We’ll start with buildings that are vital to the wellbeing of all Chelsea residents; buildings like City Hall that acts as a command center when there is an emergency, the 911 center that oversees emergency response, and the Police Station that is key to public safety. We’ll also focus on buildings like public and affordable housing, where there might be people who are unable to evacuate in an emergency.

This microgrid is designed to grow and expand over time. This means that while we are starting with a small number of  buildings, we can add more buildings later on. The more buildings that participate, the more prepared and resilient Chelsea will be!

Working closely with GreenRoots, Climable, and Clean Energy Solutions, Inc. (all from the RUN-GJC team), the City of Chelsea embraces the following goals and principles:

  1. Community ownership and governance
  2. Ongoing project expansion
  3. Reduced emissions
  4. Improved public health and environmental justice
  5. Minimal waste and toxins
  6. Creating local jobs with livable wages and job training opportunities
  7. Socially responsible & diverse supply chain
  8. Values-aligned financing
Learn more on the topics below by clicking on each link!

We are excited to pursue this project that will lead to a stronger, healthier and more resilient Chelsea.

To stay involved, sign up for project updates here: Sign Up Form

Additional Information


What is resilience?
We know that climate change is causing more and more extreme weather, like severe storms and heat waves, and Chelsea is at risk. Being prepared is important! There are buildings that are key to the safety and well-being of residents in an emergency, and this microgrid will provide them with a reliable source of power.

In an outage, electricity is especially needed for:

  • Operating critical facilities like hospitals, 911 centers, and nursing homes.
  • Keeping refrigerated food and medicine from spoiling
  • Powering certain medical equipment like nebulizers or chair lifts as well as vital amenities like lighting, elevators, heating, and cooling
  • Maintaining communication lines open; the ability to communicate with loved ones and first responders is key during an emergency!
In short, a microgrid makes sure that essential services stay powered during an outage.

Other benefits of a community microgrid include:

  • Helping households and businesses save money on utility bills
  • Using energy efficiency upgrades as a way to make homes more comfortable while using less energy
  • Promoting clean energy, which helps meet Chelsea’s goals for eliminating emissions, and reducing pollution, and making clean energy accessible for everyone
  • Boosting public health; it’s called CLEAN energy for a reason! Replacing the use of gas, oil, and other fossil fuels by using solar panels and batteries improves overall air quality. Healthier air means healthier people.
  • Creating local jobs by supporting renewable energy training opportunities for community members.
If you want to stay updated on Chelsea’s community microgrid, please sign up for project updates here: sign up form.

Learn more here:

What is a microgrid?
Right now, the electric grid delivers electricity to Chelsea using power lines that carry electricity from power plants to homes and businesses. This system that connects energy producers with energy consumers is HUGE!

A microgrid is like the electric grid, but much smaller. In a power outage it can disconnect (aka ‘island’) from the grid —and the buildings that are part of the microgrid still maintain power! This is because it has a local source of energy generation, like solar panels on the roof or in a parking lot. By providing reliable electricity in a power outage, people in Chelsea are able to stay in their homes and keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

A microgrid is very useful and important in an outage, but it also has benefits when there isn’t an emergency. For example, when the grid is operating normally, this microgrid allows Chelsea to sell excess energy back to the electric company, which generates revenue and reduces costs for community members.

Microgrids have been used all over the U.S. for many years. The Chelsea microgrid is committed to avoiding technologies that pollute our air and create public health issues. For this reason, our microgrid is designed to use clean technologies like solar panels, battery storage systems, and generators that run on renewable fuels, which pollute less than fossil fuels like diesel or gas. These technologies will be installed at all participating buildings, along with software that allows them to receive signals from a cloud-based (virtual) controller that can instruct them to be used when it is most beneficial to residents and businesses. Buildings can always be added to the microgrid, so even though it will start with a few key buildings, it can eventually include many buildings, even expanding to cover the whole City.

If you want to stay updated on Chelsea’s community microgrid, please sign up for project updates here: sign up form.

Learn more here: