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  • Writer's pictureCorey L. Wilson

California Utilities Seek Energy Storage-Enabled Resilient Microgrid and Island Power Projects

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

California utilities CPA and SCE have issued requests for microgrid and power resiliency projects using energy storage as the state continues to adapt to an increased risk of power shutoffs. Community choice aggregator (CCA) Clean Power Alliance (CPA) has issued a request for offers (RFO) for developers to build power resiliency backup systems in communities in Southern California. The CCA, a non-profit community-owned utility, is seeking the projects through its Power Ready program whereby solar-plus-storage systems are installed at buildings which serve as critical public facilities during outages. The risk of outages has grown with increased wildfires and ageing infrastructure in the state. The initial phase of the program seeks to have the backup power systems installed at 12 public buildings in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. It will contract with developers on a 20-year build-own-operate model and said it is providing the programme at no cost to participating communities, it announced this week (17 January). The deadline for project proposals is less than a month away, February 10, 2023, with power purchase agreements (PPAs) set to be signed towards the end of the year. See the CPA’s information page for more details. CPA’s RFO is similar in scope to one put out by comparatively larger utility Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the state’s big three investor-owned utilities along with PG&E and SDG&E, the week prior. SCE has launched its 2022 Catalina Island Clean Energy All-Source RFO for the Santa Catalina Island, mainly known as a getaway destination off the cost of LA. The company is seeking energy solutions to serve the island including renewable sources, energy storage, demand response and energy efficiency-based solutions. The resources will need to come online no later than 2027, and the deadline to submit proposals is May 1, 2023. The island has 4,100 residents as well as commercial and industrial (C&I) customers and around one million annual visitors, SCE said. Previously-mentioned utility SDG&E has also been working to add microgrid capacity in its areas of service, opting to build four projects in the San Diego region with 180MWh of energy storage capacity last year. In related news, the completion of two individual energy storage-enabled microgrids in the Sunshine State were announced this week. The first, from PepsiCo snacking crisps division Frito-Lay (Doritos, Lays/Walkers etc.), saw it complete the transformation of its 1,100-employee Modesto manufacturing facility turned into a showcase of clean energy technologies. This includes 2.7MWh of on-site battery storage to reduce the site’s electricity costs and support grid resiliency through things like peak shaving. It also features a 1MW solar carport combined with an undisclosed amount of energy storage, although that may mean integration with the aforementioned battery storage. Commercial and industrial-focused (C&I) developer and EPC firm Industria Power on the same day revealed it had been awarded a construction contract for a 846 kW solar PV, 2.6MWh battery energy storage microgrid in the city of Coachella. The project will be deployed for Imperial Western Products, a firm which converts waste from the pet, baker and food sectors into sellable products. Article content courtesy by Cameron Murray at Utility Dive on January 19, 2023 and image is from Microgrid Knowledge.

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