Solar energy, digital power plant play massive function in California neighborhood rehabilitation venture

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By Chris Crowell June 23, 2022

Renewable energy and a wiser, decentralized grid can play an enormous function in rebuilding communities. This is a really cool instance: MCE is embarking on a digital power plant (VPP) program in Richmond, Calif., slated to launch in 2025, that’s additionally tied to a neighborhood rehabilitation venture. Essentially, deserted houses will likely be retrofitted with solar, sensible energy tech and networked collectively as a part of this VPP.

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The VPP program will allow MCE to shift load out of the 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. peak hours. This can considerably scale back buyer payments in a neighborhood the place one-fifth of residents stay in poverty, double the county common. This additionally decreases grid pressure, lowering the danger of power outages. Eventually, this VPP could possibly be bid onto the wholesale market as properly.

“The Richmond Advanced Energy Community project is a great example of community building for a clean energy future,” mentioned David Hochschild, Chair of the California Energy Commission. “This is a first-of-its kind project that will combine clean energy technologies with tangible community benefits through integration with the California grid.”

This Advanced Energy Community venture in Richmond contains $3 million in funding from the California Energy Commission and includes venture developer, ZNE Alliance, and ALCO Building Solutions, Ecoshift Consulting, Energy Solutions, mPrest, Richmond Community Foundation, THG Energy Solutions, TRC, and ZGlobal.

The ZNC Homes program will finance the acquisition, full rehabilitation, and re-sale of houses as reasonably priced properties. These ZNC houses will likely be constructed to be energy environment friendly and resilient, and every home may have a full complement of sensible home equipment and cost-saving tools, together with rooftop solar, battery energy storage, and warmth pumps. Local companies can even have a possibility to put in batteries that present resilience to grid outages, invoice financial savings, and income era potential.

MCE’s Virtual Power Plant will embrace sensible, clear energy applied sciences together with energy storage, sensible thermostats, rooftop solar, warmth pump area and water heating, and EV charging. The VPP will initially be related to as much as 100 Zero Net Carbon Homes (ZNC Homes) and bigger industrial and industrial websites.

Similar to conventional power crops, VPPs present electrical energy to the grid, however as a substitute of coming from a single supply, VPPs are made up of a community of digitally-connected applied sciences distributed throughout a neighborhood. VPPs assist stabilize the power grid by shortly dispatching power to and from assets on the grid to shift energy consumption out of peak hours and take better benefit of noon solar era.

“37% of our residents are enrolled in the CARE discount program, which is 12% more than the state average,” mentioned Tom Butt, MCE Board Chair and Mayor of Richmond. “MCE’s partnership with our city on the VPP and ZNC Homes will enhance equity in the community by revitalizing our housing stock and decreasing energy costs for our residents.”

Once established, MCE will use the VPP within the statewide power markets – managed by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) – to reveal the aggregation of buyer assets by a CCA, and the combination, scheduling, and settlement of those assets within the CAISO markets. Participating residents will likely be paid for his or her function in offering localized grid providers by a dynamic value-sharing settlement.

“By integrating smart, zero carbon homes into Richmond residents will be able to access housing that is affordable to purchase and to operate,” mentioned Richard Schorske, Executive Director of the ZNE Alliance. “This element of the Advanced Energy Community builds on many years of work by the Richmond Community Foundation, the City of Richmond, and MCE, and we are very excited to see it coming to fruition.”

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Tags: utility-scale, digital power crops

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