Peter Maloney, Microgrid Knowledge
Utilities in California are pre-emptively turning off transmission lines that could spark wildfires, but residents of Fremont can sleep a little more soundly knowing that the city’s microgrids will be there.
About two years ago, Fremont installed microgrids at three of its fire stations. At the time, the city was interested in getting clean and renewable power and felt that the battery integration would provide for additional utility bill savings as well as energy resiliency, said Rachel DiFranco, the city’s sustainability manager.
If the fire stations are threatened by a planned outage — known as a public safety power shutoff (PSPS) — “we would not have to worry about the facilities with microgrids as they are designed to automatically cut over to an ‘islanding’ mode in the event of a grid outage,” DiFranco said.
Fremont’s microgrids not only serve as backup power when the surrounding grid goes down, but they also supply most of the power for three of the city’s fire stations, either from the microgrid’s solar panels or the batteries that the solar panels charge when they produce more power than the fire stations can immediately use.