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Airport, Coast Guard Station Adopt Microgrid Backup

Humboldt County’s Redwood Coast Airport and the Coast Guard station now have a renewable energy microgrid to sustain operations in case of a power outage. The microgrid is the first of its kind in the state.

Humboldt County’s airport and Coast Guard station now have a renewable energy microgrid that’s the first of its kind in the state.

The Redwood Coast Airport Microgrid (RCAM) is a 100 percent renewable energy, front-of-the-meter, multi-customer microgrid that energizes the circuits for the Humboldt County airport in McKinleyville, the Coast Guard Air Station and two downstream facilities.

“The California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport (ACV) is a lifeline to our community every day by keeping Humboldt County connected to the world alongside our partners at United Airlines, Avelo Airlines, American Airlines, REACH/Cal-Ore Life Flight, U.S. Coast Guard-Sector Humboldt Bay, and many others,” said Cody Roggatz, Humboldt County's director of aviation, in a news release. “RCAM ensures that we can continue to keep that lifeline open through energy resilience, no matter what happens to the power grid.”

The microgrid — which contains a 2.2-megawatt solar photovoltaic array that is DC-coupled to three Tesla Megapacks that make up a 2-megawatt battery energy storage system — can go into an “islanding” mode in the event of a power outage, which allows the system to maintain power to the airport and Coast Guard station during outages, allowing operations to continue.

The project was developed as a partnership among PG&E, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), the Schatz Energy Research Center at Cal Poly Humboldt, Schweitzer Engineering Labs, Tesla, The Energy Authority and TRC.

“The microgrid contains two parallel sets of controllers,” said Dana Boudreau, RCEA’s director of infrastructure planning and operations. “PG&E uses one set of control systems to ensure safe connection and operation of the microgrid with their electric distribution grid. RCEA uses the other control system to autonomously deliver the locally produced power and related services to the grid during normal and emergency operation.”

More information about the microgrid can be found online.

©2022 Times-Standard, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.