The California Transportation Commission (CTC) has awarded a $42 million grant to the Port of Oakland for its Green Power Microgrid Project.
Located within the seaport complex, the $60 million project is designed to help the Port reach its zero emissions goal.
More than just a resilience play
The solar plus storage microgrid is unique among seaport green power installations, Port of Oakland officials say. Critical infrastructure microgrids are often deployed to provide resilience during power outages and to help manage grid demand during peak hours.
The Port of Oakland’s microgrid will do both of these things and more. The microgrid will also support 145 heavy duty Class 8 electrical chargers, allowing the Port to significantly expand its fleet of heavy-duty electric vehicles.
Strategically placed at seven different locations across the facility, the chargers will enable on-site charging of more than 1,000 on- and off-road zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs). Currently, the port has the capacity to charge just 50 ZEVs.
By charging the ZEVs with power generated on-site, the microgrid will alleviate load challenges to the overall utility grid, helping the region save on added utility-scale infrastructure upgrades and/or repairs.
The microgrid will also provide green power to ships docked at the Port of Oakland, as well as to in-transit refrigerated containers while they’re on the Port’s grounds.
U.S. ports are increasingly adopting microgrids
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront. It joins a growing list of California ports investing in microgrids.
In March of 2022, Schneider Electric began construction on a $12.2 million microgrid project to provide zero-emissions electricity for the Port of Long Beach’s Joint Command and Control Center. In 2020, EDF Renewables announced it would build a $2.7 million microgrid for the Port of San Diego.
“The Green Power Microgrid Project is a major milestone on our road to zero emissions,” said Danny Wan, executive director of the Port of Oakland. He added, “We are very excited about this next step in decarbonizing port power and operations at the Port of Oakland.”
Microgrid provider yet to be selected
The exact size of the microgrid is not yet known, though officials expect the project will include around 1 MW of solar and 6 MW of battery storage, according to a spokesperson for the Port.
Next steps include obtaining the necessary environmental clearances and kicking off the procurement process to identify the microgrid provider.
It is expected that construction on some components will begin in the next 18 months with the microgrid being fully commissioned by mid-2028.
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