Building resilience in Humboldt County
Since the recent Public Safety Power Shutoffs, Humboldt County residents have been asking how they can make their homes and businesses more energy resilient, how they can utilize the electricity from their solar panels when the grid is down, how vehicle to home storage solutions work, and where to start when investing in a battery storage system.
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) will address these questions at a public workshop on battery storage systems on Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., upstairs in room 203 at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 921 Waterfront Dr., Eureka.
Next month, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is set to roll out changes to its battery storage incentives through the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). These changes will focus on storage for microgrids and simpler emergency back-up systems, especially for lower-income customers and customers with critical resiliency needs. Qualified low-income residential customers will be able to apply for the new incentives by March 1, 2020, and commercial/industrial/government customers by April 1, 2020.
Staff will be available for individual questions after the hour-long presentation. RCEA Project Manager Mike Avcollie will be the lead presenter. Battery vendors are encouraged to display their products.
The Battery Storage Basics workshop will be the first in a speaker series designed to answer Humboldt County’s critical energy questions. For more information on speaker series topics, please contact the Redwood Coast Energy Authority Community Strategies Manager, Nancy Stephenson, at (707) 269-1700 ext. 352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going Solar in Humboldt County
The workshop will also include brief updates on four of RCEA’s solar energy initiatives that support locally produced, sustainable electricity and also pave the way for battery storage opportunities.
The first is RCEA’s Solar Net Energy Metering Program. RCEA’s recently updated strategic plan, RePower Humboldt, aims to accelerate the rate of residential and commercial Net Energy Metering customer solar system installations to an annual average of 365 systems per year between 2020 and 2030, adding about 40 megawatts of additional solar capacity by the end of the decade. Battery storage will amplify the benefits of these projects.
Another is RCEA’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff Program, which supports the construction of new, community-scale renewable energy generation projects in RCEA’s service territory that are up to 1 megawatt in capacity. Current power purchase agreement terms and other details can be found on RCEA’s website.
RCEA’s Public Agency Solar Program (PASP) is currently assisting 19 local governments with assessing opportunities and accessing funding to install solar energy arrays and energy efficiency upgrades that will save money and reduce emissions. The PASP program is expanding its scope by helping participating local governments identify and implement opportunities to pair battery storage systems with solar arrays to enhance local energy resilience.
Construction of the Redwood Coast Airport Solar Microgrid is scheduled for 2020, which will install a 2.5 megawatt solar array, battery energy storage system, and advanced microgrid control system at the Humboldt County Airport. The electricity generated from the project will be added to RCEA’s retail electricity mix, but the infrastructure is also designed to “island” a portion of the local electricity distribution grid to be able to provide extended emergency power to the airport, US Coast Guard Air Station, and other adjacent customers in the event of a power outage on the larger grid.