Tag Archives: Microgrid

Aquion installs storage for microgrid at California winery and farm

By Peter Maloney, Utility Dive

Aquion Energy and Ideal Power have teamed up to provide storage capability to a microgrid that enables a California winery and farm to be energy self-sufficient.

Aquion supplied its aqueous hybrid ion batteries for the project, connecting them with Ideal Power’s grid resilient 30-kW multi-port power conversion system as part of a microgrid at Stone Edge Farm, a 16-acre organic winery and farm in Sonoma County. The energy storage installation provides the farm and winery the capability for solar self-consumption, peak shaving and load shifting services.

The solar + storage installation is designed to provide energy for a number of buildings on the site, including the primary residence, offices and workshops. The grid-tied microgrid, developed by Wooster Engineering Specialties, is capable of islanding and operating autonomously and of generating enough energy that Stone Edge Farm is able to sell some of the energy back to Pacific Gas and Electric.  During daylight hours, solar PV provides energy for the buildings and charges the batteries. During nighttime hours and periods of cloud cover, the batteries provide energy for building loads.

Read full article from Utility Dive

Related: Aquion Energy’s AHI batteries and Ideal Power’s power conversion system bring energy independence and resiliency to Sonoma Winery (Press Release) – April 26, 2016

San Francisco braces for the Big One with microgrids

By Laurie Guevara-Stone, RMI Outlet

In 2008 the U.S. Geological Survey reported that California has a 99 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years. Just last year, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake knocked out power to more than 40,000 people in the San Francisco Bay area. This was the fourth earthquake of magnitude 6 or greater to hit the Bay Area since 1979, including the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in 1989 that knocked out power to 1.4 million people. So the city of San Francisco is not taking any chances—it’s preparing for the (next) big one with microgrids.

“The whole western side of the city is built on sand; if we have a massive earthquake, the gas infrastructure will be shot, and we could face an extended power outage,” said Cal Broomhead, energy and climate program manager for San Francisco’s Department of the Environment (SF Environment). If the gas pipeline infrastructure is destroyed, it knocks out the natural gas-fired central thermal plants and prevents the use of distributed natural gas generators, so the city wanted to find a distributed solution to provide backup emergency power, one that didn’t rely on diesel.

In 2015 the city received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Market Pathways Program to integrate solar and energy storage into San Francisco’s emergency response plans. SF Environment is leading the project with the engineering firm ARUP acting as the primary subcontractor, and several consultants providing technical support and expertise. The local utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, one of California’s three major investor-owned utilities, is part of the grant as well.

Read full article from RMI Outlet

California rancherias look to microgrids for power during natural disasters

By Edward Ortiz, The Sacramento Bee

As the deadly Butte fire ravaged the foothills of Amador and Calaveras counties last month, rooms at the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort were transformed from guest rooms to cot-filled dormitories to accommodate hundreds of people evacuated from nearby communities. The fire scorched 71,000 acres, felling scores of power lines in its path.

Many homes and businesses went dark as firefighters battled to get the flames under control. But the lights stayed on and power kept flowing at the rancheria’s hotel and casino because of a specialized network of generators and electrical equipment that gave the rancheria temporary energy independence from the regional power grid operated by Pacific Gas and Electric.

The Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians, the tribe that runs the casino, is among a handful of California tribes experimenting with power setups known as microgrids. Essentially, these are small-scale energy distribution networks that allow owners to disconnect from the regional power grid and generate their own electricity. Microgrids have been around for years, often installed as a backup power option for military bases and universities. The concept is fairly new on tribal lands, but drawing interest because many California rancherias are in rural areas prone to fire, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Read full article in the Sacramento Bee

Inside the nation’s first renewables-plus-storage microgrid

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Borrego Springs, California, sits less than 100 miles from San Diego, but in terms of electric reliability the two places were once worlds apart. San Diego Gas & Electric serves 3.4 million consumers with 1.4 million electric meters in its territory. And last year – for the ninth consecutive year – it was named the most reliable Western utility by PA Consulting Group.  But if you lived in Borrego Springs, an isolated desert community surrounded by a state park, your utility experience was markedly different.

“That area has seen outages over the years, some lasting days on end,” according to Jim Avery, SDG&E’s chief development officer. “Borrego Springs is served by one radial transmission line traversing 60 miles of exposure. It is susceptible to wildfires, windstorms, flooding and hail.” After wildfires knocked out power to the area in 2007 for two days, the utility took a hard look at how to better supply residents and businesses. About 2,800 people live in the community, which is entirely surrounded by Anza-Borrego State Park, the largest park in California.

“As a result of the wildfires, we decided we were going to rethink the way we served communities such as Borrego Springs,” Avery said. “We started our quest for designing a fully-integrated microgrid, one that could integrate conventional sources of generation, renewable sources, such as rooftop solar, as well as substation and utility-scale solar.” The system also includes distributed energy storage and batteries located at substations. With the help of $8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, “we’ve gone through an evolution in the last seven years towards building that ultimate microgrid,” Avery said. “And we’ve had some opportunities to test it under different conditions.”

The grid was used to avoid some smaller outages, and then earlier this year the California Energy Commission awarded the utility a $5 million grant to expand, allowing it to interconnect with the nearby 26-MW Borrego Springs solar facility.

In late spring, major flooding did damage to SDG&E’s transmission corridor – potentially leaving customers in the dark again. Historically, that would have meant a 10-hour outage as the utility rebuilt the poles. “We would have had customers out of service for almost an entire day,” Avery said. “But because the microgrid was up and running we were able to switch over all of our customers to be fed by the rooftop solar systems scattered out in the community, in addition the large-scale solar, and it was all balanced by the batteries located on the distribution line and at our substations.” Borrego Springs’ peak load is about 14 MW, and rooftop plus utility-scale solar give the community about 30 MW of generation. The batteries can store about 1.5 MW.

Borrego Springs isn’t the only microgrid out there, of course. It’s not even the only one operated by SDG&E, which has a few other grids in place for voltage regulation. But, according to Avery, it is the first of its kind to power an entire community with renewable energy.

Read full article from Utility Dive

Powering Forward: Clean energy empowers Native American tribes seeking self-sustainability

By John Blomster, Comstock’s Magazine

Tribal sovereignty is an age-old Native American value that today is becoming synonymous with energy independence. With help from JLM Energy in Rocklin, the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria tribe is on the leading edge of the movement in California.

This summer, the tribe and JLM Energy are partnering to install the first integrated renewable energy system of its kind in California, comprising wind, solar and energy storage power — called a microgrid — on the Rohnerville Rancheria reservation in Humboldt County just south of Eureka. In addition to offsetting the utility bill, the microgrid will allow the tribe to be more independent, provide training and jobs for its residents, and reduce its carbon footprint, all of which reflect tribal values. The small but significant endeavor is setting a new precedent for future projects as more California tribes look to follow suit.

The tribe first began working with the company to install a battery storage system — purchasing power at times when demand and costs are lower (say at 2 a.m. instead of 2 p.m.), and charging batteries to provide power during peak hours when demand spikes and the cost goes up. Construction on the microgrid began this month and will include a 100-kilowatt solar panel power system, 20 wind turbines and 30 kilowatts of microgrid electricity. The wind and solar systems power batteries that will supplant electricity needs when it costs the most with what is already generated and stored.

Read full article in Comstock’s Magazine

How California is Integrating Renewable Energy Without Blowing a Fuse

By Peter Mead, Government Technology

In California, mandated increases in sustainable energy generation are driving unprecedented technology innovations in energy balancing, rate reductions and new opportunities.

Beginning in 2002, the California Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) made a significant change in the function of energy production, transmission, distribution and consumption when it mandated that investor-owned utilities, electric service providers and community choice aggregators must increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33 percent of total procurement by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.

Having to integrate renewables such as solar and wind, with their inherent variability, into a system that hasn’t changed much since the Edison days has become a crucible for load balancing innovation, distribution efficiency and market design. And the form that “ever follows” is already beginning to shape a future of expanded opportunity in the energy market as it drives diversification, flexibility, profits and lower consumer prices.

Read full article from Government Technology

SDG&E microgrid uses solar, storage to avoid outage in small town

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

SDG&E has pulled off what it believes is the nation’s first example of a renewables-fueled microgrid being used to provide power for an entire town in a real-world scenario.

The utility used the Borrego Springs Microgrid on May 21st after the transmission line that usually feeds the community was damaged by lightning. SDG&E said its crews needed to replace or repair three transmission poles, which would usually require a 10-hour sustained outage.

Just before 9 a.m. on May 21, the utility “seamlessly” switched the Borrego Springs community over to microgrid power, and then switched it back nine hours later when maintenance was complete. The microgrid was predominantly fueled by the nearby 26 MW Borrego Solar facility (owned by NRG Energy), and the utility used distributed generation to “follow the load” and fill in power fluctuations from the solar facility. As of the completion of the demonstration project, the Borrego Springs microgrid consisted of two 1.8 MW diesel generators, a 1500 kWh (500 kW) battery at the substation, three smaller 50 kWh batteries, six 8 kWh home batteries, and 700 kW of solar, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

SDG&E said that using solar generation to power Borrego Springs was one of the primary goals of a $5 million California Energy Commission grant, making it one of the nation’s largest microgrids that can operate solely on renewable energy.

Read full article from Utility Dive

Related articles:

California Tribe Installs Renewable Hybrid Microgrid

The Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria is installing the first California Tribal renewable microgrid system this summer in Loleta, California. The Bear River Band’s new energy system is the only system of its kind combining wind energy, solar energy, and advanced energy storage.

Working with JLM Energy, the Tish Non Community Center on the Bear River Rancheria, will install an advanced energy storage system, complemented by onsite renewable energy generation. JLM’s Gridz system will provide a 30kW microgrid. The system will seamlessly support the building’s operations during a power outage. In addition, the system actively works to reduce demand charges. The Gridz microgrid solution is supported by a 100kW photovoltaic solar system and twenty of JLM’s Zefr wind turbines, providing an integrated approach to sustainable energy.

Read full article from Solar Novus Today