Resource-diversity expected to increase energy resiliency.
- Utah-based microgrid developer Cleanspark is now working on a pilot microgrid in Ventura County
- The project comprises an existing 1.6 MW solar array; the addition of 2MW of solar; a 700Kw fuel cell; and 1MW hour of storage.
- The system has garnered interest from energy-intensive users in multiple markets including commercial real estate and agriculture
Salt Lake City, Utah-based microgrid developer Cleanspark is now working on a pilot microgrid in Ventura County, California that will be completed at the end of the year.
The project comprises an existing 1.6 MW solar array; the addition of 2MW of solar; a 700Kw fuel cell; and 1MW hour of storage. COO Bryan Huber said that the system will use lithium iron phosphate batteries for fast response, and iron flow battery technology to store bulk energy in a high cycle life environment.
“US real estate asset owners have done good job reducing operational expenses, completing energy efficiency projects, and monitoring data, but have only considered distributed generation for a single-meter using a single technology,” Huber said. “We’re seeing now that there is a realization buildings, plus generation, plus storage creates a situation where 1+1 isn’t 2.”
Huber added that the project is similar to a existing one in Costa Rica for which Cleanspark will serve as a technical consultant. That project involves the use of two fractal grids that will function as one large microgrid. It is also expected to include solar, battery storage, and existing backup generators.
The legacy assets and new technology will successfully deliver cost-effective microgrid power to the property which has a peak load exceeding 1.5MW, Huber said.
CleanSpark is using its Microgrid Value Stream Optimizer (mVSO) to deliver unlevered returns exceeding 15% to the project’s owner, and anticipates the deployment of its mPulse DER Energy Manager Software to operate the microgrid after completion. Huber noted however that the Costa Rican project represents a slight deviation from the company’s activities in the US.
“We’re seeing now that there is a realization buildings, plus generation, plus storage creates a situation where 1+1 isn’t 2.” – Bryan Huber, COO, Cleanspark
A 2014 microgrid project at San Francisco’s Camp Pendleton comprised four microgrids working in concert. Those microgrids are able to function as a single unit or be segregated in the event of infrastructure failure, or for cyber security reasons. The company has now in the process of commissioning another project at Camp Pendleton which involves a DC-coupled solar and storage solution, Huber said. That project will be completed in March.
Huber noted that, at a high level, historically, microgrid projects have generally been deployed for clients with strong energy security needs and have resulted in costly deployments. But large power users, through technological advancements, are seeing the opportunities to generate their own power at costs lower than those of utilities.
“We are now seeing interest from similar energy-intensive users in various markets like commercial offices, agriculture, indoor agriculture, multi-family apartments, and entire neighborhoods interested in understanding the business case for solutions like this, and expect this may translate into future projects,” Huber said.