California’s wildfire threat could be an opportunity for clean-energy microgrids

To the untrained eye, the shipping containers clustered on the outskirts of Borrego Springs, Calif., don’t look like an innovative clean-energy technology that could help California cope with wildfires.

But these containers, in the remote desert of eastern San Diego County, are packed with lithium-ion batteries — and they’re part of one of the world’s most advanced microgrids. It combines solar panels, diesel generators, energy storage and something called an ultracapacitor to power Borrego Springs, even when electricity isn’t flowing through the single transmission line that connects the town to the main power grid.

“I believe this is the only microgrid in the world that does what this does,” said Steven Prsha, an engineer for San Diego Gas & Electric, as he wrapped up a tour last month.

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California’s wildfire threat could be an opportunity for cleanenergy microgrids, by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2019.

 

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