A groundbreaking renewable energy project led by Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center won the 2018 Project of the Year Award for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Integration at the annual DistribuTECH conference held this week in San Antonio, Texas.
The microgrid developed for Blue Lake Rancheria (BLR), a federally recognized tribal government and community, was honored for its ingenuity, scope, practicality, vision, and follow-through.
The Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University is the project lead and system integrator. The BLR microgrid integrates a photovoltaic array, a Tesla battery, and a legacy backup generator. A Siemens management system and foundational programming developed by Schatz engineers control the microgrid, which provides renewable electricity, lowers the Rancheria’s energy costs, and supports clean energy jobs.
The microgrid also provides an emergency services backbone for its remote rural community and equips the Rancheria to serve as a Red Cross shelter in the event of a natural disaster.
DER design strategically deploys power generation across multiple sites to lower impact on existing grid infrastructure and to make use of renewable technologies including solar and wind. By locating power generation close to where that power will be used, utilities are able to streamline infrastructure improvements.
When microgrids are employed, these smaller generation sites can disconnect from the main grid in the event of a grid outage – protecting critical electricity supply within a campus, business, hospital, or other community facility.
The BLR microgrid was funded by the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge and the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe. Major project partners include Pacific Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla Energy, Idaho National Laboratory, GHD Inc., Colburn Electric, REC Solar, McKeever Energy & Electric, and Kernen Construction.
About The Schatz Energy Research Center
Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center in Arcata, California develops clean and renewable energy technologies for implementation worldwide. Current projects and expertise include smart-grid design, bioenergy assessment, off-grid energy access, and clean transportation. The Center also plays a leading role in the World Bank Group’s Lighting Africa and Lighting Asia initiatives, which support high quality, affordable energy solutions for people in off-grid and marginal-grid communities.
For more about Schatz DER projects, visit schatzcenter.org/projects.