Renewable Energy Microgrids For Las Vegas Communities: Resilience And Profit – A fuel cell microgrid that will generate clean energy, manage electricity costs, and provide emergency power for public buildings and businesses in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood. (Graphic: Business Wire)
In Hartford, Connecticut, today, the City of Hartford, Constellation and Bloom Energy announced the completion of a fuel cell microgrid in the city’s Parkville neighborhood. The project’s goals are to generate clean energy, reduce electricity costs, and provide emergency backup power for businesses and public buildings. Mayor Luke Bronin, State Representative Lonnie Reed, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Robert Klee, and representatives from Constellation and Bloom Energy attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at Parkville Community School. The State of Connecticut classifies fuel cells as a renewable energy source. (
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Renewable Energy Microgrids For Las Vegas Communities: Resilience And Profit
The 800-kilowatt microgrid system generates 100% of the electricity for four facilities: the elementary school, library, senior center and health center. If there is an outage in the power grid, the microgrid will provide emergency power to these locations and residents of a local gas station and grocery store will be able to use it in the event of an outage. The excess power generated by the system will reduce electricity costs at four local schools.
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The project, the first in Connecticut developed through a public-private model, was the collective effort of stakeholders from municipal and state agencies, the Parkville community, local utilities, and numerous engineering and construction firms.
The fuel cell microgrid is part of the Connecticut Low Emission Renewable Energy Credit Program, which offers long-term contracts for participants to sell qualified energy credits to local utilities created from renewable projects. DEEP’s pioneering microgrid grant program helps prevent hardship for residents and businesses. when severe storms occur.
“We are going to see more frequent and more extreme storms as a result of changes in our climate,” explains DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “Microgrid projects, like this innovative installation in Hartford, will help maintain critical government services and amenities people need even if the power goes out.” Isolated or located in regions with high wildfire risk, some utilities are turning to remote microgrids to provide reliable services. power safely. These microgrids are stand-alone (off-grid) systems powered by solar energy and battery storage, with fuel-powered generation serving as a backup power source.
By using remote microgrids, a utility can reduce the risk of fire. The remote microgrid allows utilities to completely remove transmission and distribution lines or shut them down during periods of high fire danger. Using independent power, or off-grid power, as a source of electricity provides an alternative to Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), a widespread program in California first implemented in 2019. PSPS submitted millions of people to power outages, sometimes without warning. . According to a state audit, 67 separate reductions cut off power to more than 3.6 million people between 2013 and 2021.
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California utilities have more than 42,000 kilometers (26,000 miles) of high-voltage transmission lines, and many of them traverse rugged, sparsely populated mountainous terrain. There are also 40,000 miles of bare (or uninsulated) power lines crossing high fire risk areas across the state. In these environments, power line maintenance is expensive. Power lines can quickly spark wildfires when the wind pushes trees against the wires or transformers explode during summer heat waves.
Increasingly hotter and drier conditions resulting from California’s climate change increase fire risk. According to a November 2022 state report, California’s changing environment has led to an exponential increase in wildfires in recent years. Faced with the increasing risk of wildfires, utilities are considering removing, rather than repairing, power grid infrastructure in the most risky areas.
After transmission or distribution lines were implicated in several catastrophic wildfires, California updated its high fire risk maps, while utility companies took multiple steps to reduce fire risk. They launched the power outage program and worked to improve their outage warning systems, giving customers at least a full day of warning whenever possible.
PG&E, a California gas and electric company, also implemented its Remote Grid program, a new strategy to reduce wildfire danger. The remote networks are part of the plan to dismantle transmission infrastructure in High Fire Threat District (HFTD) risk areas and instead rely on small, independent networks to provide power to remote communities.
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BoxPower, a California company that began providing containerized microgrids for disaster relief, is working with PG&E to identify communities that are good candidates for the Remote Grid initiative and develop those projects.
While uniquely designed to meet the needs of each location, PG&E remote microgrids typically include an array of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, batteries, and inverters. Often the system comprises a backup fuel source, such as a propane tank. The utility pays installation and maintenance costs and bills customers at their usual rates for grid-connected energy delivery.
The small isolated community of Briceburg, California, was the first implementation of PG&E’s remote grid concept. Consisting of three homes and a Bureau of Land Management visitor center, Briceburg is located in Mariposa County, California, near the Merced River and not far from Yosemite National Park. After the 5,500-acre Briceburg Fire destroyed the distribution feeder leading into the city, PG&E decided it would be more cost-effective to remove the power lines and build a stand-alone hybrid power system. In addition to mitigating the risk of fire, removing power lines saves on maintenance and vegetation control costs.
Modeled using UL Solutions HOMER Pro, Briceburg’s hybrid power system has a 36-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array, an approximately 70 kW lithium iron phosphate battery bank, and a backup generator that uses propane fuel. The system is controllable by PG&E or BoxPower via satellite.
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“The Briceburg microgrid has been operating successfully for almost two years,” according to Anderson Barkow, co-founder and CFO of BoxPower. “It’s been a great test case, working well in extreme weather conditions.”
The microgrid operated flawlessly during the historic winter storms of 2021 and record heat waves in 2022 and, in particular, during deluges caused by atmospheric river storms in late 2022 and 2023. When PG&E shut off local power when As the Oak Fire burned just miles from Briceburg in 2022, the microgrid proved its worth and continued to deliver reliable power to the community. Additionally, the Briceburg system has provided clean energy with reduced carbon emissions, running on renewable energy 99% of the time and rarely turning to its propane generators during the winter.
According to BoxPower, PG&E is one of the first utilities in the United States to offer standalone power systems (SPS) or remote grids as alternatives to power lines in sparsely populated rural areas. PG&E announced four new remote grid sites in August 2022, which will allow for the removal of approximately five miles of overhead power lines. PG&E also plans to build thirty more remote networks (microgrids) by 2026 as part of its wildfire mitigation planning.
UL Solutions’ HOMER® Pro software is a leading prefeasibility design software for modeling microgrids, with more than 250,000 users in more than 190 countries. Provides financial and engineering analysis of remote, off-grid and grid-connected complex distributed energy systems, reducing financial risk for owners and developers. Learn more about HOMER Pro and download a free trial. Probabilistic estimation of energy consumption and performance of road tunnel lighting systems for investment decision making
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By Musaed Alhussein Musaed Alhussein Scilit Preprints.org Google Scholar, Syed Irtaza Haider Syed Irtaza Haider Scilit Preprints.org Google Scholar and Khursheed Aurangzeb Khursheed Aurangzeb Scilit Preprints.org Google Scholar *
Received: January 15, 2019 / Revised: April 8, 2019 / Accepted: April 11, 2019 / Published: April 19, 2019
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