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Key Results From Implementation of a Renewable Power Mini-Grid Research and Demonstration Program in California’s Chino Basin

[+] Author Affiliations
Patrick Lilly, George Simons

Itron, Inc., Vancouver, WA

Max Carpenter

Commerce Energy Corporation, Costa Mesa, CA

Hank Zaininger

ZECO, Inc., Pleasanton, CA

Paper No. POWER2007-22115, pp. 595-604; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/POWER2007-22115
From:
  • ASME 2007 Power Conference
  • ASME 2007 Power Conference
  • San Antonio, Texas, USA, July 17–19, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4273-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3803-X
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME

abstract

Developing approaches that can improve the value and “affordability” of renewable distributed generation (DG) is a key factor in developing a sustainable market. Program support activity is increasing in the U.S. in response to the 21+ states that have legislated Renewable Portfolio Standards. This paper addresses technology performance and related market entry barriers of several new innovative applications intended to increase the amount of available and harvested biogas resources, incorporate high-value applications of building-applied photovoltaics (BA-PV) and develop a more complete understanding of the impacts of these renewable DG resources upon the local electric distribution system — with the goal of achieving significantly positive net benefits to project owners/developers, their host customer facility operations, and to the serving electric and gas utilities. The overarching goal of this $10 million co-funded California Energy Commission and Commerce Energy Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER) was to provide effective and more affordable renewable energy solutions within the Chino Basin, while applicable throughout California through specific targeted technology and market demonstrations that will lead to development of a sustainable market for on-site power generation using several types of biogas fuel and solar photovoltaic energy resources. Key outcomes resulting from the Program conclude that approximately 28 to 50 MW of PV and biogas distributed resources are expected to be developed in the nonresidential market segment alone through 2012, representing about 10 percent of Southern California Edison’s total peak load in the basin. Distribution system deferral benefits to SCE are location-specific. Up to $4.4 million in system deferral benefits may be achieved from this incremental renewable generation within the basin. Based on this first California Energy Commission-supported Programmatic RD&D approach, this paper explores the following questions: 1) How can electric grid benefits resulting from a geographically targeted renewable distributed generation effort be more fully quantified and improved? 2) Will the applications of food waste codigestion (with the local dairy waste), or ultrasound technology (applying high concentrations of sonic energy) improve waste activated sludge solids destruction and increase biogas production efficiency and onsite power generation at municipal/regional wastewater treatment facilities? 3) Can side-by-side testing and evaluation of 13 separate photovoltaic systems lead to a recommended format for an independent Consumer Reports style evaluation of the PV industry’s leaders in nonresidential and building-applied applications? These answers and other important results regarding the latest biogas and solar PV technology and their associated benefits and costs that were implemented within the 565 MVA Commerce Energy/SCE distribution system mini-grid are summarized in this paper. An overall program description and project descriptions for each biogas/PV project and associated final report documentation can be downloaded from the Commerce Energy PIER Program website at http://www.pierminigrid.org/.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME

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