California wildfires
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Two companies have come up with a potential solution to help mitigate power outages in California. Recent state utility proposals have called for new measures that would allow California utilities to increase the quantity and duration of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) as part of their wildfire mitigation plans.

These PSPS, while important, can have severe impacts on businesses, hospitals and others who need reliable power.

This week, Scale Microgrid Solutions and Schneider Electric announced a new modular and scalable microgrid that they say can combat the impacts of outages as a result of severe weather and other natural disasters, such as wildfire season in California. Their solution is called Rapid Response Modular Microgrid or R2M2.

R2M2 uses commercially available technology that can be implemented quicker than most microgrids, say the companies.

Leveraging Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure architecture, the R2M2 uses Schneider Electric’s Energy Control Center (ECC) – an onsite power control center that allows customers to simplify and optimize the integration of distributed energy resources (DER) such as batteries, and solar PV. Integrated with Energy Control Center is Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor (EMA), a cloud-based, demand-side management platform.

The combination of ECC and EMA adds to the scalability of the R2M2, allowing customers to expand DER over time, even after installation, while the advanced controls enhance flexibility to optimize power management. In addition, Schneider Electric’s Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) allows the host facility to operate at up to 100 percent of peak electric demand for an extended duration.

The Rapid Response Modular Microgrid (R2M2) further addresses the timeframe, cost and scalability concerns of some legacy microgrid systems:

  • It can be installed in 9 months on average, 65 percent faster than the industry standard
  • It is up to 30 percent less expensive than typical microgrid solutions, making it affordable for most C&I customers in California
  • It alleviates the need for custom design and engineering, rendering scalability feasible
  • It Is installed fully behind the meter, eliminating the need for a utility distribution system
  • It can be deployed through Scale Microgrid’s Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) financing model to enable customers to get the benefits of the microgrid without upfront capital outlay

Additionally, unlike diesel generators, there is no on-site fuel storage requirements to use R2M2 and performance of the system is not dependent on fuel-supply logistics. 

 “In the lead up to wildfire season, the industry needs to drive new solutions that can mitigate the life safety and business continuity issues expected by extended electricity shutoffs, as well as offer additional value-added services throughout the year,” said Don Wingate, Vice President, Utility and Microgrid Solutions, Schneider Electric.

The R2M2 is available now for customers nationwide. The launch of the R2M2 builds on Scale Microgrid Solutions and Schneider Electric’s partnership to bring innovative microgrid solutions to commercial and industrial companies, such as Bowery Farming.

A new whitepaper has just been published by Navigant Research and Schneider Electric, looking at California's power outtages and how microgrids can be used to prevent consumer risk. Here's the story.

This article first appeared on our sister site, Electric Light & Power.

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