Can This Airport Help Pave the Way for Microgrid Success in California?

California is hoping that lessons learned from a new microgrid project at Humboldt County’s regional airport will help create a road map for microgrid integration in the state.

The microgrid, which was designed by the Schatz Energy Research Center, will include a 2.3-MW solar PV array and an 8-MWh battery storage system. It will support 18 electric accounts, including the airport in Humboldt County and the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, Humboldt Bay.

The California Energy Commission in February awarded a $5 million grant through its Electric Program Investment Charge program that will support $6 million in matching funding from the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) for development of the microgrid.

The Schatz Center said that the microgrid, which is the first multi-customer microgrid in Pacific Gas and Electric’s service territory, will provide a test bed for the policies, tariff structures, and operating procedures necessary to integrate microgrids into California’s electric grid.

“The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is excited to be partnering with the Schatz Center, PG&E, and the County,” Matthew Marshall, executive director of the RCEA, said in a statement. “This project will allow us to provide enhanced resiliency and emergency-response capabilities for the airport and Coast Guard and deliver the environmental and economic benefits of developing our local renewable resources.”

Lead image: Aerial view of Humboldt County’s regional airport. Credit: Schatz Energy Research Center

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