Snohomish County PUD this week broke ground on an innovative Microgrid and Clean Energy Technology Center, located east of the Arlington Airport. It will demonstrate multiple new energy technologies, including energy storage paired with a solar array. The system will be able to be “islanded” and run independently from the electrical grid.
The microgrid, scheduled to be completed by 2020, also will demonstrate how PUD electric fleet vehicles can be used to benefit the electric grid via a vehicle-to-grid system that allows both charging from the grid and discharging into the grid. The project is supported in part by a $3.5 million grant from the Washington Clean Energy Fund.
“In addition to the value this project will create in terms of grid resiliency and a new solar option for our customers, the system also will provide a range of educational opportunities for schools, the business sector, energy industry researchers and local agencies,” said PUD Commission Vice President Sid Logan.
The project’s Clean Energy Technology Center will support a range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education efforts in the community.
“This project is another step forward in modernizing our electric grid, and we’re proud to see how Snohomish PUD and its partners are building on innovations in energy storage supported by the Washington Clean Energy Fund. Together, we’re strengthening communities by creating resiliency and flexibility through these new micro-grid applications,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, which manages multiple grant and loan programs offered through the state’s Clean Energy Fund.
The Arlington Microgrid is the third PUD project employing energy storage technology. The utility’s first energy storage system, launched in 2015, includes two large-scale lithium ion batteries, sited at a substation near the PUD’s main operations center. The second system, which came online in 2017, is based on advanced vanadium flow technology. It is housed in 20 shipping containers at a PUD substation in downtown Everett.
The PUD systems are based on modular energy storage architecture (MESA), which offers a non-proprietary and scalable approach to energy storage. It uses standard interfaces between equipment components, such as the power conversion system, batteries and control system.