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The system sources more than 40 percent of its generation from renewable resources and is capable of supporting utility demand response programs.
The 2018 POWERGRID International and DistribuTECH Project of the Year for DER Integration is The Blue Lake Rancheria Microgrid Project (Servicing Utility PG&E)
The system can be resynchronized into the system relying on its battery storage and solar assets or its backup diesel generator.
The microgrid features a 500-kilowatt REC Solar photovoltaic system and a 950 kilowatt-hour Tesla battery storage system and is controlled with Siemens Microgrid Management System software.
Placed in service in January 2017, this microgrid serves Blue Lake Rancheria, a small Native American community in Northern California.
This project's planners say it proves the viability of low-carbon, mixed-asset microgrids with islanding capabilities.
The system allows the reservation to operate in connected mode to the Pacific Gas & Electric power grid for the vast majority of the year, but also can seamlessly island out of it in the event of a natural disaster and broader outage.
The Siemens microgrid management software also integrates with a Johnson Controls building automation system that controls the BLR building complex and employs an innovative protocol to cycle multiple HVAC units, providing load reduction.
The Rancheria's community center, which serves as a certified American Red Cross evacuation shelter, can be operated uninterrupted for at least seven days when islanded from utility power.
The microgrid serves 250,000 customers and supports the tribe's economic enterprises, which employ over 400 people. The BLR complex receives approximately 550,000 visitors annually, including approximately 400,000 visitors to the tribe's casino and 50,000 guests at its hotel.
The project is estimated to reduce energy costs by more than $200,000 annually and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 195 tons of carbon equivalent annually.