Energy Commission Grants Advance Transformation of State’s Power Grid

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Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2018 6:46 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Energy Commission approved three $5 million grants to showcase more cost-efficient and reliable microgrids, advancing market adoption of these small-scale energy networks and helping California reach its energy and climate change goals.

Microgrids can operate independently of the energy grid using their own local energy source. They can maximize renewable energy use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support grid reliability. Microgrids can also increase energy security and resiliency. Their deployment has been slow, however, due to cost, regulatory issues and other factors.

Through the Energy Commission’s grants, the University of California at San Diego will develop a permanent microgrid at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to power critical military operations and maintenance facilities during grid outages. The City of Long Beach Harbor Department will demonstrate an integrated system capable of providing a long-term power supply at the port’s critical response facility. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will demonstrate a project at the U.S. Army Parks Reserve Forces Training Area in Dublin to enable easier installation and operation of microgrids at military bases.

The grants were funded through the Electric Program Investment Charge program, which supports clean energy innovations, strategies, and applications that help the state meet its energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

At a recent business meeting, commissioners also approved more than $8 million for seven research projects focused on reducing natural gas use and GHG emissions. Some of the measures that the projects examine include increased efficiency, smart control systems and production of electricity using waste heat.

The grant recipients are Altex Technologies Corporation, Element 16 Technologies, EtaGen, Inc., the Berkeley Lab, the Institute of Gas Technology, T2M Global LLC, and UC Riverside. The Energy Commission’s Natural Gas Research and Development Program funded the grants.

The Energy Commission also awarded the Mariposa County Resource Conservation District a $5 million EPIC grant to build a biomass-to-energy facility that would convert forest waste into renewable, community-scale, grid-connected electricity. The research project is aimed at dealing with the forest waste from California’s unprecedented tree die-off.

SOURCE: California Energy Commission

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