Port starts construction on microgrid project

Source: Port of Long Beach

The Port of Long Beach is pursuing a zero-emissions future with a microgrid demonstration project that will generate a reliable supply of electricity for the Port’s main security facility – the Joint Command and Control Center.

Construction started this week on the project, which is aimed at providing energy resilience for the security center while enhancing air quality by delivering clean power for daily operations. The project also reduces the Port’s reliance on diesel generators to produce electricity during outages.

“It is vital that we improve energy resilience as we move toward zero-emission equipment that will allow us to enhance air quality while moving a record number of cargo containers,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director, Mario Cordero. “Our move toward large-scale energy resilience in the future will benefit the surrounding communities by taking power demand off the utility grid, especially during extreme heat events when rolling blackouts occur.”

“Generating power with a new microgrid will enhance reliability for the Port’s critical security operations during an outage on the utility grid,” said Steven Neal, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “This project also gives us a glimpse into the future and moves us closer toward using greener energy sources.”

Equipped with a 300-kilowatt photovoltaic solar panel array, the microgrid will convert sunlight into electricity for the Port’s security headquarters with a connection to provide resilience to Jacobsen Pilot Services, the private company that guides cargo vessels in the Port.

The microgrid system’s capability to maintain operations will allow JCCC staff to work uninterrupted during a power outage. The project is anticipated to save the Port more than $60,000 annually on electricity costs, with a yearly output of approximately 520 megawatt hours.

During widespread outages or emergencies, a truck-mounted battery system can remain at the JCCC or serve as a zero-emissions generator that can be deployed to refrigerated container yards, pump stations and other critical areas. Deploying the microgrid during an outage will reduce the need to use diesel generators for emergency power.

Additional features include an energy control center and a 250-kilowatt stationary battery energy storage system.

Performance data during the first year of operation will be analyzed and compiled into a report outlining lessons learned, project replication capabilities, and the ability to commercialize microgrid systems. Lessons learned from this demonstration will be integrated into the Port’s design criteria for future marine terminal projects.

Construction of the $12.2 million microgrid is partially funded by a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. The project is scheduled for commissioning in November 2022.


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