Concentric Power is building a 5 MW microgrid for Tasteful Selections, a southern California company that grows and packages potatoes.
The 12 million dollar project combines 3.6 MW cogeneration capacity with 120 kW solar capacity and a lithium-ion battery setup with 1.25 MW / 625 kWh.
Concentric Power's microgrid controller will be integrated into Tasteful Selections' device automation platform to ensure active and predictive load management, the companies announced on March 26th.
The microgrid controller uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to manage the supply and demand for energy and ensure that the most cost-effective source of energy is used at all times, according to Concentric Power.
The company will operate the microgrid with a cloud-based control and shipping platform and a physical network operations center with engineers and technicians.
“What we're doing here is a microgrid design that sets the industry standard,” said Mike Delgado, vice president of engineering and services for Concentric Power.
The project could be expanded to include additional renewable energies such as solar and renewable natural gas. It is designed to be highly efficient by absorbing and reusing heat, optimizing motor efficiency, and managing the load.
The microgrid provides a way for Tasteful Selections, based in Arvin, California, to achieve zero net carbon emissions, according to the companies.
Tasteful Selections will own the microgrid, while Concentric Power will design, build, operate and maintain the system. Concentric Power expects to put the project online in the third quarter.
Drivers for microgrids in the Ag sector
Tasteful Selections believes it can save 40% on electricity bills while avoiding business interruptions due to blackouts and public safety blackouts. California utilities regularly introduce power outages to prevent forest fires. This practice has sparked interest in microgrids across the state.
One of the drivers of microgrids in the agricultural sector is the increase in electricity tariffs for farms, according to Brian Curtis, CEO of Concentric Power. Electricity tariffs for large farm operators rose 25% to 20 cents / kWh in the past 16 months, Curtis said during a February 24 presentation hosted by Bakersfield College.
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“Agriculture, Ag processing and supporting communities are at high risk of power outages and problems due to forest fire shutdowns and poor power quality at the edge of the grid,” said Curtis.
As electricity tariffs rise, the costs of solar, batteries, fuel, and financing are falling, according to Curtis.
“Across California, we are seeing microgrids playing a critical role for Ag customers. This project is another step in our journey to transform the energy landscape in the state and beyond,” said Curtis of the Tasteful Selections project.
Concentric power projects
Concentric Power has a background in the development of agricultural microgrids. For example, the company is building a 35 MW microgrid valued at $ 70 million for the Gonzales Agricultural Industrial Business Park in California's Salinas Valley. The project includes a mix of 14.5 MW solar, 10 MW / 27.5 MWh battery energy storage and 10 MW flexible heat generation managed by the company's advanced microgrid control.
Concentric Power has offices in Salinas and Campbell, California, and adds one in Bakersfield, California.
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