California Approves $5M Grant for Microgrid at Naval War Center

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The California Energy Commission Friday approved a $5 million grant to demonstrate a standardized, renewable energy microgrid at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division near Oxnard.

renewable energy microgrid

By Federico Rostagno/

The microgrid is part of a larger, $50 million effort by the commission to help commercialize microgrids — both for the military and private applications.

The modular microgrid will power a server farm building at the Ventura County military base. 

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), won the grant and will provide $3.5 million in matching funds. 

The project comes as the industry increasingly strives to reduce the amount of customization in microgrid development as a way to drive down costs. In this case, researchers hope to create a replicable model that demonstrates how to avoid electric instabilities during transitions between grid connected and islanding modes. 

Working with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Distributed Utilities Associates and other partners, EPRI plans to collect data on capital and operating costs, performance and lessons learned.

Designed to provide four hours of backup power, the renewable energy microgrid will include a 500-kW carport solar array, two 250 kW Lithium-ion battery energy storage system, a microgrid controller, a 200 kVAR-2 sec synchronous condenser, and adaptive protection relays, according to the grant application.

The microgrid also will demonstrate use of electric vehicle charging, with an AC 110V charging station, and a second AC or DC fast charging station that uses a higher current or voltage.

In addition, EPRI intends to make the building more energy efficient with improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling system.

Ultimately, EPRI sees the project as a way to show how a renewable energy microgrid can reduce on-site energy needs, costs, and carbon footprint while providing a reliable resource of backup power, according to the application.

The renewable energy microgrid was among an array of clean energy projects that the commission funded Friday. Eighteen smaller grants, totaling $3 million, will go to design, develop or test entrepreneurial early-stage concepts for energy storage, energy efficiency, renewables and water.

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Among those projects are a “solar shrub” design that uses thin film photovoltaics in bio-mimicking leaf designs. California State University, Fullerton, will create a prototype using advanced 3D printing to create an easy-to-install and easy-to-move sustainable solar product for homes.

The money for the renewable energy microgrid and other projects comes from the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, which funds clean energy innovations, strategies, and applications that help the state meet its energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction goal.

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Join us in California for Microgrid 2019, May 14-16 in San Diego.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.