Case study: Leading-edge energy generation and storage

The California Air Resources Board will employ a battery energy storage system

By Kevin Krause, PE, LEED AP, Affiliated Engineers, Madison, Wisconsin January 28, 2020

Consolidating five existing locations, the new home of the California Air Resources Board in Riverside, Calif., will be one of the largest and most advanced vehicle emissions testing and research facilities in the world. In addition to being a high-performance precision laboratory, delivering repeatable data, the project is set to be the world’s largest zero net energy facility of its type.  

Energy storage plays an important role in achieving this goal. The building’s energy use will be offset by a nominal 3.8 megawatts of photovoltaic panels on-site. To make the most of the energy generation and capture excess generation, a 750kilowatt, 1.5 megawatt-hours of lithium-ion battery energy storage system will optimize utility costs under a net-metering agreement. The BESS solution will include a bi-directional, grid interactive inverter that will provide seamless integration to facility distribution and utility interface, with necessary power conditioning, control and safeties required for grid interconnection.  

Through the control platform, the BESS will be able to be dispatched for charging or discharging based on forecast or actual PV generation, historical or real-time facility load information, timeofday utility rates and current status of charge on the BESS — a true datadriven control tool. The control system also can be used to control the number of charge and discharge cycles over time to benefit the health and longevity of the batteries themselves.  

A dashboard provides insight into the system operation including history of charging cycles, current battery health, as well as the ability to integrate monitoring of the PV system and facility load information into a single comprehensive view. 

Furthering its commitment to the energy systems and emissions reduction of the future, the CARB facility will make a leading investment in electrical vehicle charging infrastructure. Initially the facility will include more than 100 electrical vehicle charging stations, comprised of a mix of level 1, level 2 and direct current fast chargers. In addition, electrical infrastructure is being installed to support another 100 vehicle charging stations that will be installed in the future as new technologies in vehicle charging come to market.  

Combined with the on-site renewable energy generation, BESS and electrical vehicle charging, CARB illustrates a system balancing optimal grid electrification and energy storage.

Author Bio: Kevin Krause is a principal with Affiliated Engineers Inc. His expertise spans the energy spectrum from the most efficient production and distribution, through highly regulated use, including work for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the California Air Resources Board.