Blue Lake Rancheria, a Native American reservation in Northern California, and Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center have partnered with Siemens to build a low-carbon community microgrid to power the government offices, economic enterprises, and critical Red Cross safety shelter-in-place facilities across 100 acres.
The microgrid, funded in part through a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, will be powered by a 0.5 MW solar photovoltaic installation, 950 kWh battery energy storage system, a biomass fuel cell system and diesel generators.
Operators will manage and control these energy resources with Siemens Spectrum Power Microgrid Management System (SP MGMS) software. The microgrid will allow the reservation to operate independently of the power grid in coordination with local utility Pacific Gas & Electric. This project constitutes the largest solar array in Humboldt County, California and is estimated to reduce 150 tons of carbon per year.
Using Siemens microgrid management software, Blue Lake Rancheria will be able to accurately predict the reservation’s power load needs and dynamically manage and control its distributed power generation through integrated weather and load forecasting. The reservation will use this detailed power usage insight to provide its residents and businesses with reliable, high-quality power without fear of outages or power interruption.
The SP MGMS software is “operator-free” and does not require traditional 24-7 monitoring. The solution is built on a utility grade SCADA platform giving it the power to handle any microgrid application and ensure interoperability with other load control systems.
The microgrid is planned to be installed and operational by fall 2016.