This was the week for Microgrid California, a one-day conference produced by Microgrid Knowledge that was jam-packed with educational sessions designed for microgrid owners, developers and technology/equipment suppliers. Speakers offered lessons learned building microgrids.
As a refresher, a microgrid is mostly designed to deliver resiliency for its owners – be they utilities, large C&I companies, municipalities, universities, and communities. What defines a microgrid is its ability to island from the main grid to provide energy during an outage. As a California-based conference, public safety power shutoffs (PSPS events) figured prominently as drivers for microgrid adoption in the state.
In addition to resiliency, microgrids can also provide grid services during normal grid operation. These services include peak shaving, demand response and, once DERs are fully unlocked, other ancillary services like volt/var regulation, reactive power and frequency regulation, can also be provided by a microgrid. This potential additional economic adder is another driver of microgrid adoption.
The conference was organized around projects with project developers and owners sitting on the panels and answering questions about their challenges and lessons learned building, owning and operating microgrids. Four sessions highlighted microgrids for businesses and utilities; microgrids for agriculture/food Industry; microgrids for education and campuses; and microgrids for government, communities and CCAs.
Among the many microgrids that attendees learned about were the following projects:
Domaine Carneros Winery microgrid, developed by PowerFlex, an EDF Renewables companyLiberty Utilities Sagehen Creek Field Station microgrid, developed by BoxPowerA fully-islanded microgrid in Santa Cruz owned by Sandbar SolarA fully-islanded microgrid designed for Bluehouse GreenhouseCity of San Diego’s eight microgrids, financed by Shell EnergiesCity of Berkley’s microgrid upgrade project
You can read about the specifics of each one by clicking their links. All include renewable energy (mostly solar PV but some wind), energy storage (mostly lithium-ion batteries but some lithium ferro phosphate), and a diesel or