Mar 30, 2021Tasteful Selections to build microgrid energy system in California
Bite-size potato producer Tasteful Selections has broken ground on a microgrid energy-producing system in Kern County, California.
The 5.0 MegaWatt microgrid was designed by Concentric Power, which will also build, operate and maintain the system for Tasteful Selections for the lifetime of the equipment — approximately 25 years.
Microgrids can operate autonomously outside the normal power grid when necessary or desired, like during power outages, according to the Department of Energy.
“The microgrid will incorporate energy generation, distribution and storage using Concentric Power’s intelligent microgrid control platform to manage all distributed energy assets. It will improve the sustainability of Tasteful Selections’ business while delivering resilience through ‘islanding’ capability for continued operations during power outages within the broader utility grid,” Concentric Power stated in a press release.
It is expected that the microgrid will help Tasteful Selections save upward of 40% on energy costs.
“Throughout California, we’re seeing how microgrids can be a game changer for ag customers, and this project is another step in our journey towards changing the energy industry landscape in the state and beyond,” said Brian Curtis, CEO, Concentric Power. “Tasteful Selections has been an incredible partner and we’re looking forward to jointly seeing this project provide energy resilience and sustainability for them in the long run.”
“We’re excited to be working with Concentric Power because their core values align with ours and this microgrid optimizes our operation,” said Bob Bender, CEO and president, Tasteful Selections. “The resilience and sustainability that this project brings to the table shifts our focus from energy stability to our core business rather than the headaches of energy outages and price spikes.”
The partnership between Concentric Power and Tasteful Selections will support over 30 construction jobs and create at least five full time roles — including engineering, operations and maintenance and asset management — within Kern County. The $12 million project is anticipated to be completed during the third quarter of 2021.
For years, growers have had to overcome energy supply challenges, but now Tasteful Selections will enjoy energy independence. The microgrid will combine reliable firm power, clean solar power, battery storage and an intelligent microgrid controller that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning technology to manage energy supply and demand to ensure the lowest cost energy resource is used at any given time.
Powerful and sustainable
Combining 3.6 MW cogeneration firm power with 120 kW solar and 1.25 MW/625 kWh lithium-ion battery storage, the microgrid has approximately 5.0 MW total capacity with provisions to add additional renewables, including more solar and renewable natural gas. It is architected to create energy efficiency at every turn, from capturing and repurposing heat to optimizing engine efficiency and advanced load side management. The microgrid incorporates solar energy generation and battery storage to provide Tasteful Selections a pathway to net zero carbon.
Concentric Power’s microgrid controller will integrate with Tasteful Selection’s equipment automation platform to deliver active and predictive load management, ensuring optimal performance of Tasteful Selection’s operation during both normal daily operations as well as during outage events. Concentric Power designed the project to account for the site’s individual characteristics while taking advantage of its standardized technology building blocks. Concentric Power’s technology platform allows this approach to be easily implemented no matter the individual characteristics of a site.
Concentric Power’s control and dispatch platform is cloud-based and secure but will be complimented by a physical Network Operation center (NOC) staffed by engineers and technicians. “What we’re doing here is an industry-standard-setting microgrid design,” said Mike Delgado, vice president of engineering and services at Concentric Power.