Collaborating for a Clean Energy Future: California’s First 100% Renewable Multi-Client Microgrid Now Operational | Humboldt NOW

This microgrid was developed through a unique partnership between the Schatz Energy Research Center at Cal Poly Humboldt, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, Pacific Gas & Electric, Humboldt County, TRC, The Energy Authority, Tesla, Inc., and Schweitzer Engineering Labs.

The research and development was supported by a $5 million grant from California’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC), a statewide program that invests in science and technology research to accelerate the transformation of the electricity sector to meet the state’s energy and climate objectives. million from the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), a joint power agency that provides clean, renewable energy to Humboldt County.

A model of resilient and clean energy

“The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid (RCAM) ushered in an exciting new era for the California power grid,” said Peter Lehman, Schatz Center Founding Director and Project Leader. “With its successful deployment and the development of new microgrid agreements and tariffs, CAMR has become a model and beacon for communities across the state as they strive to green their energy supply and build resilience. in the face of climate change.”

The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid includes a 2.2 megawatt solar photovoltaic array DC coupled to a 2 megawatt (9 megawatt-hour) battery energy storage system, consisting of three Tesla Megapacks.

During normal blue sky operations, RCAM generates clean, renewable energy for the North Shore, and assists in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) wholesale energy markets, including day-ahead, real-time and ancillary services markets. By storing solar power during the day and releasing it to the grid as needed in the evening and during peak demand periods, RCAM enables greater use of solar power, supports grid reliability, and creates a model economical for future microgrids.

When a power outage occurs, the microgrid isolates itself from the main grid and powers the circuit that encompasses the airport, the adjacent Coast Guard Air Station, and several nearby facilities. RCAM will provide seamless and continuous electricity to all customers in the microgrid circuit during any local outages.

As the first microgrid in the CAISO market and the first renewable meter-front microgrid system in the state, RCAM is building a repeatable business model for deploying renewable microgrids.

Achieve critical resilience goals

California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport (ACV) Regional Airport is located in McKinleyville, California, and serves the greater North Coast community with more than 50,000 flights annually, including commercial, private and medical flights. ’emergency. Adjacent to the airport, U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay provides search and rescue on 250 miles of rural coastline, from the Mendocino-Sonoma County line to the California-Oregon border.

Roads leading into Humboldt County are frequently closed by fires and mudslides, making air services a critical factor in regional emergency response.

Cody Roggatz, Humboldt County Aviation Director, says, “California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport (ACV) is a lifeline to our community every day in keeping Humboldt County connected to the world alongside from our partners at United Airlines, Avelo Airlines, American Airlines, REACH/Cal-Ore Life Flights, US Coast Guard-Sector Humboldt Bay, and many more. CAMR ensures that we can continue to keep this lifeline open through energy resilience no matter what happens to the power grid.

Community micro-grids: partnership for resilience

Deploying multi-customer and meter-in-front community microgrids requires close coordination between the microgrid design team, the electric utility, and a power generation partner who can power the microgrid if needed. Because these microgrids use utility-owned and maintained circuits, their control systems must meet utility controls and security needs, while maintaining a clear delineation between utility-owned and utility-owned equipment. belonging to the production partners. Moreover, participation in the wholesale market requires that the system also be sensitive to market signals.

  • The design and development of the RCAM project was led by Cal Poly Humboldt’s Schatz Energy Research Center. The Schatz Center’s microgrid research and development focuses on resilient renewable energy solutions for the California North Coast and beyond.
  • The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) is the community choice aggregator for Humboldt County, serving 63,000 electric account customers and supporting energy efficiency alongside local, clean and renewable energy solutions. RCEA is responsible for the majority of the Humboldt Bay area’s energy resource supply, and owns and operates the power generation equipment for the microgrid.
  • PG&E manages the regional electric grid, which serves more than 16 million people in northern and central California, and owns and operates the microgrid circuit.

“A significant success of RCAM was how we were able to overcome the complex financial, technical, regulatory, commercial and operational hurdles this project faces,” says Dana Boudreau, RCEA’s Director of Operations and Infrastructure. “This experience will stand us in good stead as we continue to engage our community in building offshore wind energy, supporting more solar and storage capacity, and developing new community microgrids.”

Part of a growing trend

The unique collaboration between the RCAM project partners has resulted in technical and policy innovations. RCAM is the model for PG&E’s Community Microgrid Enablement Program, which provides technical assistance and cost offsets for the deployment of community microgrids. Additionally, PG&E’s Microgrid Incentive Program, slated to launch later this year, will leverage a statewide $200 million fund dedicated to the deployment of energy microgrids. to meet the critical needs of vulnerable populations and disadvantaged communities.

“The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid represents the culmination of many years of research, innovation and collaboration by the world’s leading microgrid experts. Through their hard work, microgrids play now a key role in PG&E’s ongoing efforts to strengthen our electrical system and improve grid resiliencies in northern and central California,” said Jason Glickman, executive vice president, engineering, planning and strategy, PG&E.” We know how much our customers and communities need reliable power, and this system not only increases local reliability, but it serves as the foundation for a repeatable and scalable model for large-scale multi-grid deployment. -customers in PG&E’s service area, giving communities a new tool to play a more active role in securing their resilience and clean energy goals.

Next steps for the North Coast

“RCEA’s goal is to provide our customers with 100% carbon-free electricity by 2025, and 100% local carbon-free electricity by 2030. This project is an important milestone for our clean energy and resilience efforts,” said RCEA Executive Director Matthew Marshall. RCEA works closely with schools, firefighters, Native American tribes, and other local agencies to support community resilience on the North Shore.

Renewable energy microgrids are uniquely suited to help rural tribes and other communities adapt to climate change and simultaneously mitigate future climate impacts. The Schatz Center partners with a number of Northern California tribes to support their clean energy, resilience, and climate response efforts.

Cal Poly Humboldt also recently began designing a renewable energy microgrid to support campus resilience through clean generation. This microgrid will be part of the university’s sustainability framework and will allow students in engineering, environmental science and other programs to gain hands-on experience with innovative climate-friendly technologies.

More information

  • Learn about PG&E’s Community Microgrid Enablement Program: pge.com/cmep

About the Schatz Center

Since 1989, the Schatz Center has produced breakthrough renewable energy solutions that reduce climate change and pollution while increasing energy access and resilience. Located on the Cal Poly Humboldt campus, the Schatz Center’s research efforts include microgrids, offshore wind, off-grid energy access, carbon lifecycles, clean transportation, and more. The Center works closely with state agencies, local government and tribal nations in California, as well as the World Bank Group, CLASP, the IKEA Foundation and others to support international access to energy and resilience. Learn more about schatzcenter.org

About RCEA

Established in 2003, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a joint powers local government agency whose members include Humboldt County, the county’s seven towns and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The Energy Authority’s goal is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency and advance the use of available clean, efficient and renewable resources. In the region. For more information, visit redwoodenergy.org

About PG&E

PG&E, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in northern and central California. For more information, visit pge.com and pge.com/news.

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