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California Airport, Coast Guard Station Adopt Microgrid Backup

Humboldt County, Calif.'s Redwood Coast Airport and the Coast Guard station now have a renewable energy microgrid to sustain operations in case of a power outage. The microgrid is the first of its kind in the state.

A small plane taking off.
Shutterstock/Allexanderh
(TNS) — Humboldt County's airport and Coast Guard station now have a renewable energy microgrid that's the first of its kind in the state.

The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid is a 100% renewable energy, front-of-the-meter, multi-customer microgrid that energizes the circuits for the Humboldt County airport in McKinleyville, the Coast Guard Air Station and two downstream facilities.

"The California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport (ACV) is a lifeline to our community every day by keeping Humboldt County connected to the world alongside our partners at United Airlines, Avelo Airlines, American Airlines, REACH/Cal-Ore Life Flights, U.S. Coast Guard-Sector Humboldt Bay, and many others. RCAM ensures that we can continue to keep that lifeline open through energy resilience, no matter what happens to the power grid," Cody Roggatz, Humboldt County's director of aviation, said in a release.

The microgrid — which contains a 2.2-megawatt solar photovoltaic array that is DC-coupled to a three Tesla Megapacks that make up a 2-megawatt battery energy storage system — can go into an "islanding" mode in the event of a power outage, which allows the system to maintain power to the airport and Coast Guard station during outages, which would allow operations to continue.

The project was developed as a partnership between Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, the Schatz Energy Research Center at Cal Poly Humboldt, Schweitzer Engineering Labs, Tesla, Inc., The Energy Authority and TRC.

"The microgrid contains two parallel sets of controllers. PG&E uses one set of control systems to ensure safe connection and operation of the microgrid with their electric distribution grid. RCEA uses the other control system to autonomously deliver the locally produced power and related services to the grid during normal and emergency operation," Dana Boudreau, RCEA's director of infrastructure planning and operations, told the Times-Standard.
RCEA celebrated the completion of the project.

"RCEA's goal is to provide our customers with 100% carbon-free electricity by 2025, and 100% local carbon-free electricity by 2030. This project is a major milestone for our clean energy and resilience efforts," Matthew Marshall, executive director of RCEA, said in a release. "RCEA works closely with schools, fire departments, tribes, and other local agencies to support community resilience across the North Coast."

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the microgrid June 22 at 10:30 a.m. For more information about the microgrid or to RSVP for the event, go to https://redwoodenergy.org/rcam.

©2022 Times-Standard, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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