California faces challenges to resilient power

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Eric DuPont, chief development officer at PowerSecure, sat down with Microgrid Knowledge’s Elisa Wood at Microgrid California to discuss how renewables and the need for resilient power are driving microgrid adoption in California.

Renewable energy continues to penetrate the California energy market, but it’s creating some disruptions in the operation of the grid, according to Eric DuPont of PowerSecure. When you consider these disruptions, in conjunction with potential long-term outages because of public safety power shutoff events, DuPont says it’s the perfect “combination of factors there that I think creates a really enticing market in California for microgrids.”

In a recent interview with Microgrid Knowledge’s Editor-in-Chief Elisa Wood, DuPont said California’s “commercial and industrial sector is looking to make sure that power is available when they need it to run their business operations.” Microgrids can provide resilient power, but there are some challenges in the market that must first be overcome. DuPont cites interconnection with the utility being a common hurdle for microgrid projects, as well as permitting and restrictions on fossil fuels. He feels that “the best source for those long-term resiliency solutions today is still some type of fossil flow based generation,” but emissions standards make permitting a challenge in California. He points to the rise in renewable natural gas and renewable diesel as potential solutions, but notes that until these new fuel sources are widely available, “you’re not driving the economic value that you normally see in other markets with the deployment of a microgrid that has fossil fuel [generation] included.”

DuPont also provides tips for colleges, cities, businesses and other types of organizations looking to invest in a microgrid in California. He notes that working with a development company that has completed projects in the state will save time. He also recommends using a fully integrated developer. “I think the more that you try to break apart the sourcing of the microgrid and the development of the microgrid, I think it becomes even more challenging in a state like California,” he says.

Look for more interviews with microgrid experts in the Microgrid Knowledge Video Library.

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