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California Energy Commission awards more than $1.8M additional funding to further UCSD microgrid project; energy storage, EV charging and V2G services are components

The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved funding to advance further the development of its pioneering 42 MWpeak microgrid and expand electric vehicle charging at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

The Commission approved a $1.6-million award to increase its previously awarded funding of $1,394,298 for the university’s microgrid. The Commission also approved funding of $220,554 to expand the campus’ burgeoning charging network for plug-in electric vehicles, through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118.

The microgrid award is funded through the Commission’s research and development program. The total Commission funding for the amended agreement is $2,994,298. The university is providing an additional $1,525,000 in matching funding. These funds will be invested, in part, in analyzing multiple stand-alone energy storage technologies to further improve the microgrid.

The return on this investment extends far beyond the San Diego campus. It provides a crucial real-life demonstration of technology that can help to provide California a future of clean, sustainable and reliable energy.

—Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller

The funding will support four microgrid projects that involve solar forecasting; demonstration of distributed energy storage systems (DESS) including the addition of a second DESS using different storage technology to the project that would be charged/discharged daily for “load shifting”; demonstration of renewable energy charging of electric vehicles; and improvement of California Independent System Operator (CAISO) microgrid operations observability.

The goal is to show the benefits of coordinated resources in a microgrid system. The individual resources will be operated together in an integrated fashion to maximize their contribution as a resource and the aggregated response will be observed by the CAISO. Each resource has individual objectives for measuring success:

The objectives of the solar forecasting project are to:

  1. Develop solar forecasting products for hour-ahead solar forecasting.

  2. Demonstrate the application of this solar forecasting at Sempra Generation’s 48 MW Photovoltaic (PV) Plant.

  3. Decrease the ancillary services cost per additional MW of solar power on the grid by 50%, if the proposed forecasting model was used operationally. This will reduce the indirect cost of solar power to California ratepayers. During 2008, the CAISIO spent a total of $113 million to acquire ancillary services, the “fast-response” products that the system operator uses to respond to sudden changes in the output of variable generation. In a 2007 study CAISIO estimated that it would need to acquire significant additional ancillary services to meet the 20% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal, largely due to the uncertainty or lack of forecasting for renewable generation. The opportunity to reduce this expanded procurement through the development of more accurate forecasting tools (such as the models proposed in this project) is clearly worth tens of millions of dollars.

  4. Integrate output of models into utility forecasting tools and transmission and distribution models based upon the needs of CAISO and the utilities in California. Test compatibility of tools in commercial scheduler/optimizers to enable supply, storage and load adjustments on a microgrid. UCSD’s microgrid as a commercialization test bed will provide market linkages to facilitate the demonstration and widespread adoption of the results.

The objectives of the Distributed Energy Storage Systems (DESS) project are to:

  1. Demonstrate the performance of a fleet of DESSs on daily circuit level, total kilowatt hour (kW-hr) charge/ discharge, charge/discharge durations, fleet round trip efficiency, peak demand with and without fleet, charge cycle demand with and without fleet, kilovolt-ampere reactive (kVAR) hours provided/consumed by fleet, peak kVAR provided/consumed by fleet, circuit power factor with/without fleet, average charge/discharge per DESS, kW-hr, kVAR, kW and kVAR, load factor with/without fleet, total charge/discharge exceptions due to power/voltage limits, communications failures (number and duration), islanding customer minutes, customer events (number of customer interruptions avoided), islanding duration, number and duration of DESS unit outages (fully discharged), and minimum and maximum available energy of the fleet.

  2. Determine if distribution feeders can be monitored for actual power flows to determine the mitigation effects and cost competitiveness of DESS on different loading patterns of the PV generation and existing customer load on the feeder.

  3. Develop control algorithms for both the PV inverters and the DESS inverters in an effort to determine if distribution feeder loading can be optimized and improved by 10%.

  4. Demonstrate that advanced control systems with DESS negate the capital cost impact to distribution feeders when their limit of 15% is exceeded.

  5. Demonstrate DESS as a mitigating measure comparable in cost to utility-based solutions.

The objectives of the Observability of Microgrid operation by the California Independent System Operator project are to:

  1. Demonstrate that a highly instrumented microgrid can appreciably raise the distribution and CAISO operators’ understanding of microgrids to a level that will permit these resources to become competitive operational assets for power generation, demand response and ancillary services responding to dynamic price signals.

  2. Demonstrate that distributed energy resources, including solar PV coupled with advanced energy storage and demand response, have the capability to adjust their internal microgrid operations to stabilize the variable renewable generation which will allow local utilities to better balance their networks and the CAISO to reliably schedule and dispatch the microgrid.

The objectives of the Renewable Energy Charging of Electric Vehicles are to:

  1. Document that electric vehicle (EV) emission levels below 130 gCO2e/mile can be achieved with renewable distributed energy resources as the charging source.

  2. Demonstrate that a direct current linked chargeport for charging of EVs can mitigate variable renewable generation.

  3. Demonstrate that bi-directional,vehicle-to-grid operability provides ancillary grid services, storage, and/or generating assets.

  4. Document that renewable resources provide EV charging at a delivered cost comparable to the Experimental Tariff Rates approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E).

  5. Demonstrate that a DC-linked chargeport is more efficient than an AC-linked chargeport.

The UCSD microgrid is a small-scale version of the traditional larger power grid; it is able to connect to the larger electric grid, but can also work independently. Earlier in 2012, the microgrid included:

  • 30 MW natural gas cogen plant
  • 2.8 MW of fuel cells in operation
  • 1.2 MW of Solar PV installed, additional 2 MW planned

In addition, the microgrid can more efficiently manage real-time demand, supplying and storing energy at a lower cost with less pollution than a conventional grid. The university reports savings of more than $800,000 in power costs per month because of its microgrid.

Microgrids are expected to offer California a way of achieving several important state energy policies and goals, including increasing renewable electricity generation to 33% by 2020, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies.

The microgrid at UC San Diego serves a campus community of more than 45,000 people, and generates more than 90% of the electricity used on campus annually. The project has also spurred investment: The nearly $4 million that the Energy Commission has invested in the microgrid since 2008 has been leveraged to garner more than $4 million from other funding sources, public and private.

In addition to the microgrid, the campus is on track to having the largest, most diverse range of electric vehicle charging stations at any university in the world, thanks in part to Energy Commission funding. By June 2013, the university expects to have a total of 54 charging outlets, with more than 70% available for public use.

San Diego County-based Alternative Energy Systems Consulting, Inc., will receive the Energy Commission’s award of $220,554 to purchase and install eight dual RWE Level 2 eStation Smart Systems, providing 16 charging outlets, and to install and assess the performance of three publicly accessible RWE DC fast chargers.

RWE Effizienz GmBH, a subsidiary of a German utility, which is the maker of the charging equipment, has selected Monrovia-based AeroVironment, Inc., as its designated assembler and distributor of RWE DC fast chargers and AC intelligent chargers for the US and Canada markets.

These awards come on the heels of another award to expand UC San Diego's electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In November 2012, the Energy Commission awarded $69,446 to Alternative Energy Systems Consulting, Inc., to install five RWE Level 2 electric vehicle charging systems, each consisting of two charging outlets for a total of 10 charging outlets to support the campus' growing fleet of plug-in electric vehicles.

Level 2 electric vehicle charging systems—expected to become the most commonly used charging systems—use 208-240 volt power and typically provide 10 to 20 miles of range for each hour of charging for a passenger vehicle. Level 1 charging systems use 110 volt power, standard in most households, and typically provide 2 to 5 miles of range for each hour of charging. DC fast-charging systems are emerging as a much quicker way to charge plug-in electric vehicles, typically providing 60 to 80 miles of range in just 20 minutes of charging.

Nearly half of UCSD’s fleet of more than 800 vehicles has been converted to near-zero emission vehicles. Diesel fuel has been replaced with ultra-low sulfur biodiesel, and many buses, street sweepers, cars and trucks have been converted to run on compressed natural gas. The fleet also includes five Nissan LEAFs and more than 50 hybrid-electric vehicles. The university's “green fleet” was ranked 14th overall in the nation and received the highest ranking of any university by Government Green Fleet in 2012.

Governor Brown’s executive order directs state government to support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in California, with a 2025 target of 1.5 million ZEVs on California roads. The order also requires that sufficient infrastructure be installed in the state to support 1 million ZEVs by 2020.

The Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which is funding the UC San Diego vehicle charging awards, is slated to invest approximately $90 million during the current fiscal year to encourage the development and use of new technologies, and alternative and renewable fuels, to help the state meet its climate-change goals. It is funded through vehicle and boat registration fees, as well as smog check and license plate fees.



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