US utility to create Advanced Energy Community


The Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) is partnering with the University of California-Irvine to design an Advanced Energy Community.

The partnership aims to improve access to affordable, reliable and clean energy to consumers in an underserved community in Huntington Beach. SoCalGas is providing $150,000 in funding towards the programme.

The Advanced Energy Community will comprise a mix of energy generation resources including wind, solar and renewable natural gas.

The programme will employ a power-to-gas energy storage technology developed and piloted under the university’s Advanced Power and Energy programme.

The energy storage technology will be used for long-term, monthly, or seasonal storage of large amounts of carbon-free power compared to lithium-ion battery energy storage systems.

Most importantly, the energy storage solution converts energy into hydrogen. The hydrogen will be mixed with natural gas to power home appliances and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The hydrogen can also be converted into methane, which will be used in natural gas pipelines or storage systems.

Clean energy future

Jack Brouwer, associate director of the Advanced Power and Energy Program of UCI, said: “The integrated set of energy efficiency measures, smart grid technologies, renewable power generation and energy storage technologies that we will include in the Advanced Energy Community design will improve quality of life while reducing costs and emissions.”

Lisa Alexander, vice president of customer solutions and communications at SoCalGas, added: “We’re excited to co-fund this worthy project in collaboration with the California Energy Commission.

“Creating an Advanced Energy Community will serve as a guide for future policy and planning in California to keep our energy system sustainable and make a difference in our clean-energy future.”

In November, SoCalGas developed a testbed for power-to-gas energy storage technology in partnership with Department of Energy. Read more…

The test bed will help the utility to understand the commercial viability of the technology and how much energy capacity the solution can store and for how long.

A study conducted by the DoE’s Lawrence Barkley National Lab forecasts the US to record between 3,300MW and 7,800MW of excess solar and wind energy by 2025. If converted to renewable natural gas, the excess energy will provide heat to up to 370,000 homes or electrify approximately 187,000 households.


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