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Renewable Energy: The Decentralized Grid Comes to California Apartment Complexes

The Decentralized Grid Comes to California Apartment Complexes,  Inside Clean Energy:  BY DAN GEARINO – 4 Sep 20, One of the ways to make the electricity grid more reliable is to make it less centralized, with buildings capable of producing and storing their own electricity.

And one of the most interesting companies working to make this happen has a big new project in California. Sonnen, with global headquarters in Germany, is working with a property developer and manager to provide energy storage systems in 3,000 apartment units in California.

The project covers seven apartment complexes in locations all over the state, all run by The Wasatch Group of Utah.

This is a form of virtual power plant, something I write about whenever I get the chance because I see this as a potentially groundbreaking way to make the whole electricity grid cleaner and more reliable.

Sonnen and Wasatch say this is the largest virtual power plant in the country that is exclusively based in apartment communities, with battery capacity of 24 megawatts.

The apartment complexes will use rooftop solar to fuel the battery storage systems. In addition to providing backup power for residents during blackouts—a big selling point in California, where utilities have carried out planned blackouts because of heat or wildfire risks—the batteries will be able to work in tandem to ramp up and provide all the power for the apartments when the wider grid is under stress.

This has financial benefits, saving on electricity purchases from the utility at the times with the highest prices, and it helps to make the grid more stable for everyone by leaving more electricity on it for use by others.

“This community is actually a blueprint for all society,” said Blake Richetta, chairman and CEO of sonnen Inc. USA, the German company’s U.S. subsidiary, which is based in Atlanta. “If you’re trying to create a system for us to eliminate fossil fuels from electricity production in the future, you can’t achieve it without this sort of blueprint.”

He means that virtual power plants can reduce the need for fossil fuel plants that only operate at times of peak demand, which are some of the dirtiest plants on the market.

The project adds to The Wasatch Group’s track record of doing interesting energy projects at its properties. The company also worked with sonnen to develop a 600-unit virtual power plant at an apartment complex near Salt Lake City……….


September 5, 2020 - Posted by | decentralised

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