SDG&E installing ESS iron-flow batteries to backup critical facilities in new microgrid


San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is deploying long-duration iron-flow batteries from ESS Tech, Inc. in a microgrid project to back up critical resources in the town of Cameron Corners, California. The ESS solution will be paired with a large onsite solar array to support numerous critical community facilities – including a health center, a fire station, and key telecommunications equipment – during Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events.

The first-of-its-kind, utility-scale project will utilize six ESS second-generation Energy Warehouse systems to provide up to 3 megawatt-hours (MWh) of stored energy capacity. When the microgrid is not in use, the energy stored in the ESS system will be bid into the California wholesale energy market to earn revenue while supporting grid reliability.

“The Cameron Corners Microgrid Project symbolizes SDG&E’s commitment to keeping our customers safe and building resilience against wildfires and extreme weather,” said Don Balfour, Advanced Clean Technology Program Manager at SDG&E. “By pioneering zero-emissions microgrids, SDG&E seeks to meet the reliability and resiliency needs of our customers as climate change presents growing challenges.”

“SDG&E has demonstrated global leadership in addressing the reliability challenges caused by climate change. This project will demonstrate how microgrids can benefit customers in California and beyond,” said Eric Dresselhuys, ESS Inc. CEO. “ESS is proud to collaborate with SDG&E on this project and to offer a safe, sustainable long-duration energy storage solution to help utilities and energy users achieve their clean energy and resiliency goals.”

The ESS energy storage solution will be integrated with a solar PV array and into SDG&E’s local area distribution controller (LADC) to ensure multi-day continuity of services to first responders and critical customer loads in a remote location. The Cameron Corners Microgrid Project is scheduled to come online in the first quarter of 2022.

In recent years, the need for microgrid-based energy resilience has become more critical, due to the sharp increase in extreme weather events and wildfires across the Western U.S. According to the latest U.S. Department of Energy data, there are now 575 operational microgrids in the U.S., totaling 4.25 gigawatts (GW).

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