News Article

Energy Commission Awards $1.7 Million for Military Microgrid Project
Date: Jul 08, 2013
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Featured firm in this article: Altex Technologies Corporation of San Jose, CA

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission is supporting microgrid technology by funding a research demonstration project at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.

"Investing in microgrid research and testing is critical for meeting California's clean, renewable energy goals," said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. "This project will evaluate new and emerging technologies in a real world environment while providing reliable and secure energy to the military base at Camp Pendleton."

The Commission approved a $1.7 million award to San Diego-based Harper Construction Company, Inc., to demonstrate a set of intelligent microgrids that use community scale renewable resources within an existing utility grid at the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton. The project will integrate on-site flat-plate and concentrating photovoltaic (PV) technology with energy efficiency, energy storage and other technologies to provide reliable power and support critical base functions. The project includes $1.1 million in match funding from the grant recipient and subcontractors.

A microgrid is a small-scale version of the traditional larger power grid that draws energy from clean sources such as the wind and sun, as well as from conventional sources. It is able to connect to the larger electric grid, but can also work independently.

The Camp Pendleton project is one of several Commission funded microgrid demonstrations taking place at U.S. military installations. The Commission recently approved a $2 million award to Concurrent Technologies Corporation to share costs in a U.S. Department of Defense vehicle-to-grid demonstration project at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. Vehicle-to-grid technology allows two-way power transmission so that electric vehicle batteries can provide electricity to the grid as needed during peak hours, and charge during off-peak hours.

The Camp Pendleton microgrid project is one of 11 research and development awards totaling $15,761,267 that were approved at the Commission's June 12 business meeting.

The other award recipients are:

Altex Technologies Corporation of Sunnyvale (Santa Clara County) will receive $1,582,817 to develop and demonstrate a waste heat and solar heat driven cooling and heating system called the Building Energy Efficient Cooling and Heating (BEECH) System for commercial buildings. Waste heat refers to heat produced by mechanical equipment for which there is no use. The BEECH system aims to utilize waste heat to reduce overall commercial building heating and cooling energy consumption. The project includes $176,000 in match funding from Altex.