PG&E set to bring multi-customer microgrid to Humboldt County

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM) — PG&E is bringing the first ever multi-customer microgrid in northern California to Humboldt County.

The project, officially dubbed the Redwood Coast Airport renewable energy microgrid, will provide clean electricity to Humboldt County and will be a lifeline in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

It will support 20 electric accounts and critical facilities, including the Humboldt County Airport and U.S. Coast Huard air station. Once operational, it will allow for “islanding” from the broader grid when needed, and will become an independent, PG&E operated grid segment.

Key project elements include:

  • A 2.2-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array covering seven acres, which is DC-coupled with a 2 megawatt or 8 megawatt-per-hour battery energy storage system from Tesla;
  • A 320-kilowatt net energy metering solar PV system that will directly offset energy costs for the airport (in return for land leased for the project from Humboldt County);
  • A microgrid control system that will interface directly with PG&E’s distribution control center;
  • Powerline reclosers with advanced control and system protection (reclosers are devices that shorten some power outages by sending a live pulse to test the lines after an issue (a fault) has been detected); and
  • Four electric vehicle charging stations capable of demand response.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, Redwood Coast Energy Authority, the county, and PG&E.

Construction is set to begin in April of 2021 with full operation expected by October of 2021.