A23 – CESI Microgrid Development

Project Title: Increasing Community Resiliency through the Development of Microgrids in Cambridge, MA (last updated 10/13/23)

Project Overview:

In an era of increasing energy demand, climate change concerns, and a growing need for renewable energy sources, the use of local, self-contained energy systems, or microgrids, has emerged as a critical solution. The goal of this project was to identify the barriers keeping the communities from implementing microgrids. We accomplished this goal by working with our sponsor, Clean Energy Solutions Inc,. to investigate literature and conduct interviews with key stakeholders for a proposed microgrid site in Cambridge, MA. The main recommendations were to better inform the community on what microgrids are, overcome language barriers, and work as a team with the community, utilities, and policymakers to make the changes needed towards more renewable and resilient energy.

About our Team: 

Sarah Chon | Biomedical Engineering

Amanda Mui | Management Engineering

Samantha Yeung | Computer Science

Vincent Vu | Electrical and Computer Engineering

Paul Mathisen | Project Advisor


About our Sponsor: Clean Energy Solutions Inc

Our sponsor Clean Energy Solutions Inc. (CESI) assists communities as a technical advisor in the development of solar microgrids. Their goal is to create transformative energy systems in environmental justice communities through solar microgrids that can transition to being community-owned and operated over time.

Project Outcomes:

After completing a diverse interview pool of city councilors, real estate developers, executive community directors and managers with microgrid experience, we gained a well-rounded perspective for the microgrid implementation barriers in Cambridge, MA. We were then able to effectively deliver recommendations to CESI on areas to improve opportunities for underserved communities to build microgrids. Many of those recommendations were to increase communication with the community on advancements in energy technology, such as microgrids. Spreading more updated awareness on solar power benefits and resiliency and cost benefits of microgrids is also highly recommended. Overall, organizing larger community events to bring together companies and neighborhoods to learn about all the benefits of microgrids is an important action toward educating and building a community that continues to adapt to technological advancements in energy that are also environmentally friendly and utilize resilient clean energy systems.