california’s wildfire threat could be an opportunity for clean-energy microgrids - commercial energy storage systems
For those who have not been trained, the containers gathered in the suburbs of Borrego Springs don't look like an innovative clean container
Energy technologies that can help California cope with wildfires.
But these containers, in the remote desert of eastern San Diego, are filled with lithium-ion batteries —
They are one of the most advanced micro-grids in the world.
It combines solar panels, diesel generators, energy storage devices and super capacitors to power the Borrego spring. Even if the electricity does not pass a single transmission line connecting the town and the main grid.
"I believe this is the only micro-grid in the world to do this," said Steven Posa, an engineer at San Diego Gas and Power.
He finished a trip last month.
The technology displayed by SDG & E in this rural town can be the lifeline for families and businesses in the fireprone areas.
Largest investor in the state
Utilities under Pacific Gas and electricity
Southern California Edison
Is expected to be canceled
More often this year, power lines are powered to prevent them from catching fire when the weather is dry and windy.
This is one of the fastest and cheapest ways for utilities to prevent wildfire from triggering.
But there is one obvious downside: the entire community can last for hours or even days of darkness, preventing residents from cooling houses, keeping food cold and charging their phones.
If a fire is triggered in the event of a power outage, insufficient power may endanger the work of the first responders and complicate the evacuation plan.
With these concerns in mind, some energy companies have urged government officials to motivate microgrids and small independent energy systems such as rooftop solar energy to pair with batteries in the fire --
Communities prone to occurrence
The companies say these technologies can help keep the lights on during pre-emptive power outages.
At the same time, the typical start of the California fire peak season is in June, and it is not clear how much support the regulator or the state's largest utility company has for quick action on backup power supplies.
In their recent wildfire program, Edison and PG & E have little to say about the micro-grid and home energy systems in areas facing pre-emptive power outages.
The safety head of the California Public Utilities Commission has played down the potential of the micro-grid to have a significant impact in the near future.
"We don't seem to have the technical capacity right now to do a system-wide microgrid that can withstand multiple days of power outages," said Commission security and law enforcement director gavaveta Malashenko . ".
"Even if this is where we end up going as a long-term Country --
The term solution, you can't just plug in a bunch of batteries and [protect]
Community for the next six months.
"There is no definition of micro-grid.
The term generally refers to an energy system that either disconnects from the main grid or can be "isolated" from the grid in order to continue to supply power when there is a power outage.
Microgrids are typically driven by diesel or other fossil fuels, but they increasingly combine solar and lithium
Especially in places like California where clean energy is preferred.
The global micro-grid market will grow from $6.
It was $3 billion in 2018.
9 billion to 2027.
So far, the micro-grid has found the biggest opportunities in hospitals, universities and other institutions willing to pay extra for the backup power supply, as well as in areas where the grid is unreliable.
In Puerto Rico, for example, after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island's energy infrastructure, the microgrid facility jumped.
But in the fire, there is a growing chance of this technology.
Peter Asmus, a micro-grid expert at Navigant Research, said California's prone communities face pre-emptive power outages.
The micro-grid is still relatively expensive, but Asmus has seen their financial case at fire stations, water facilities and emergency shelters.
Asmus says the microgrid that combines solar energy with batteries may be particularly valuable.
Unlike diesel generators, solar panels will never run out of fuel and they can charge the battery every day.
Michael Wara, an energy expert at Stanford University, was appointed by the government as an energy expert.
Wildfire in Newsom submitted a report to the Committee on Wildfire costs and utilities infrastructure.
He believes that the micro-grid will allow utilities to close power lines without completely cutting off critical infrastructure power, making it easier to prevent fires.
Take the example of a camp fire that killed at least 85 people and destroyed Paradise Town.
A few days before the November fire, PG & E warned 70,000 customers that it might turn off power in areas such as heaven.
But utilities have maintained power supplies, and now the company says its infrastructure may have caused the fire.
Installing the micro-grid "is not cheap, but it is feasible and can be done quickly," Wara said . ".
"If the benefit is to avoid burning a community in Northern California, it's a very big benefit.
"The potential of this technology is being demonstrated in the California desert.
Supported by federal and state funding, SDG & E began building the Borrego Springs micro-grid in 2012, and a few years ago a wildfire destroyed the town's single transmission line and cut two power outagesThe investor-
Owned utility, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, expanded the microgrid after receiving $5
Million grants from the California Energy Council in 2015.
Today, SDG & E performed a complex dance at Borrego Springs to coordinate the power flow of two diesel generators on a commercial solar farm owned by New Jersey
Based on Clearway Energy, 4. 5 megawatt-
Lithium worth hours.
On the roof of 3,500 people in the town, the fleet of ion batteries and solar panels-
Not to mention the power of the main grid.
SDG & E "isolated island" Borrego Springs during power outages, testing and regular maintenance, using the micro-grid at one time as the town's only power supply for a few hours.
SDG & E has also installed a super capacitor, which is a super capacitorpowerful short-
Regular batteries are designed to balance the rapid changes in supply and demand, although utilities have not tested them yet.
The super capacitor was built by San Diego.
Musk's Tesla bought the company last month for $0. 218 billion.
The key is that SDG & E engineers can remotely operate the microgrid at the control center of Mission Valley 80 miles away.
The utility also works with Colorado.
Headquartered in energy company Spirae, develop advanced micro-grid control software Wave to help synchronize all mobile components.
San Diego utilities are still facing some challenges.
The company was able to use the micro-grid "isolated island" town for 4 hours during the planned power outage in May, remote operating system, and keep the town's battery fully powered, diesel generators and Wave software.
But the more ambitious test involved 26-
The megawatt solar power plant did not go as planned and lasted only two minutes.
Mike Schneider, vice president of clean transport and asset management at SDG & E, said diesel generators are the main force in the microgrid.
He expects that this will change as energy storage becomes cheaper and SDG & E adds more batteries.
"We want to move in the direction of carbon emissions --
"Free solutions," says Schneider.
Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory studied the capabilities of the micro-grid.
They say proven technology and software in the desert could be good for more fires in Californiaprone areas.
A federal-funded research laboratory based in Golden Colorado.
The functions of the microgrid and its advanced control software in different scenarios are simulated.
The lessons learned from this study can eventually be used to help micro-grid "islands" in the main grid in the areas threatened by wildfires, whether during an emergency power outage or during a power outage caused by an actual fire.
Research is complicated, says Martha Symko.
Davis, project manager, NREL Energy Systems Integration Lab.
But at Borrego Springs, she said, "We haven't seen any show yet.
California policy makers have made it clear they want more micro-grids.
Last year, the legislature passed a bill written by state senators. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park)
This requires regulators and utilities to "promote the commercialisation of micro-grids using clean energy ".
In addition, the California Energy Commission recently awarded $50 million to the micro-grid demonstration project.
Some companies say the state should be more active in supporting the micro-grid and other decentralized energy resources, including solar and storage on the roof
Especially in areas facing priority power outages.
"There's a lot of focus on what we're going to do in the end [
Prevent forest fires
And there's not much focus on what we're going to do this summer, "Tim Hade said.
Founder of scale micro-grid solutions.
"When you get fired by mortar, it's not the time to have a strategic conversation about how to prevent future mortar fire.
You have to do something now, because it's obviously a danger. ”San Francisco-
California-based Sunrun, one of the largest rooftop solar and battery installers in the United States, encourages the California utilities commission to focus on areas facing priority power outages when allocating energy storage incentives. The solar-plus-
Storage systems sold by Sunrun and other companies are not entirely microgrids.
They were called Nano animals"
However, they can help families and businesses keep the lights on during power outages, for at least a few hours a day.
Solar and storage are not cheap.
But Anne Hawkins, Sunrun's chief policy officer, said that the Californian have paid for the loss of the wildfire and that as utilities increase their spending on fire prevention, they will pay more
"Customers will face very significant interest rate growth," Hoskins said . ".
"It's really a question of what is the best approach and trying to take a bit longer.
"Preventing the grid from catching fire is a major focus of the utilities commission.
Malashenko, director of the safety and law enforcement division of the Commission, introduced the micro-grid and household solar energyplus-
Storage systems are the "tools in the tool portfolio" that strengthen the community against fire ".
A key issue, she said, is how useful these tools are in the long run.
State officials hope that pre-emptive power cuts will become increasingly rare as utilities take other steps to make the grid safer.
"It would be nice in a place where there is no need to take the initiative to turn off the power," Malashenko said . ".
The utilities commission is looking for ways to minimize the negative impact of public safety power closures
Energy is known.
Micro-grid and household solar energyplus-
Malashenko said storage systems are part of the conversation and it is not yet clear how quickly they are rolled out on a large scale.
"It's not as simple as rolling and inserting in a pile of power generation and battery storage," she said . ".
Edison did not mention the micro-grid in its wildfire mitigation plan, although it said it would "consider providing temporary mobile backup power generation requests to local governments and first responders during long periods of power outages
When asked about the micro-grid and wildfire, the company said it was evaluating the micro-grid technology and developing a new agreement to connect the micro-grid to the main grid, as required by state Sen.
Legislation by Stern
PG & E is carrying out a "recovery zone" pilot project in Angwin town, Napa County, where pre-emptive power outages may occur.
PG & E said in its wildfire mitigation program that it is working with the Pacific Union College to build infrastructure by June 1, this will enable the company to "connect temporary mobile power generation quickly and safely" to power fire stations, gas stations and student dormitories.
The company is also developing a micro-grid demonstration project in Arcata, "Exploring the micro-grid, as an opportunity to provide power quickly and safely to areas that have already started public safety power off or critical power lines are out of use, PG & E spokesman Lynsey Paulo said in an email.