SDG&E Unveils Four New Microgrids to Support Mission Critical Sites

Feb. 14, 2024
All four San Diego Gas & Electric microgrids can operate independently and in tandem with the regional grid. The battery storage installations are connected across four substations and will provide backup power to police and fire stations, schools and cooling centers.

One of the nation’s leading utilities in developing microgrids, San Diego Gas & Electric, is unveiling four new remote projects designed to strengthen power resiliency and grid reliability at the same time.

SDG&E has previously announced the microgrid and energy storage sites in the communities of Clairemont, Tierra Santa, Paradise and Boulevard. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the utility’s request back in late 2021, and construction on those projects began in late 2022.

All four microgrids can operate independently and in tandem with the SDG&E regional grid. The total capacity of the four combined includes 39 MW and 180 MWh in duration connected across four SDG&E substations.

“Storage and microgrids are key to helping build a more resilient electric grid that can extend the availability of clean energy and help our communities better manage through grid emergencies like the extreme heat experienced in recent summers,” Caroline Winn, CEO of SDG&E, said in a statement. “These microgrids will actively dispatch clean energy to the grid when needed and help improve energy resiliency for critical facilities like fire stations, schools and cooling centers in San Diego.”

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California is rapidly expanding its energy storage, solar and microgrid capabilities to deal with issues such as public safety power shutoffs due to wildfire dangers, as well as extreme heat and other weather events. The state now has at least 4,000 MW of battery storage capacity online, more than 200 MW of that under development by SDG&E, and is committed to building out at least another 2.2 GW (2,200 MW) of utility-scale energy storage. 

The Tierra Santa microgrid is located at the utility’s Elliott substation and possesses battery capacity ready to discharge into the service territory if needed. Terria Santa also can power a local fire station, library, the Tierrasanta Medical Center and several schools, according to reports.

The microgrid at the Clairemont Substation will be able to provide backup power to Fire Station 36, the Balboa Ranch Library/Cool Zone, as well as five local school sites.

The Paradise and Boulevard microgrids also serve mission critical facilities such as fire stations, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Campo Tribal Office, Campo Kumeyaay Nation Medical Center, numerous schools, the Boulevard Border Patrol Station and the post office, among others.

Eleven years ago, SDG&E deployed what was called the nation’s first utility-scale microgrid, the Borrego Springs Microgrid in the remote desert town in northeastern San Diego County. The Borrego Springs project utilizes smart grid technology such as on-site power, battery storage and automated switching to deliver reliability and grid support.

The city council of San Diego is working with Gridscape Solutions in a joint effort to build eight local microgrids which will be owned and operated by Shell New Energies US.

The nearby Port of San Diego also is working on microgrid development to cut emissions at the busy cargo facilities.



About the Author

Rod Walton, Managing Editor | Managing Editor

For Microgrid Knowledge editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

I’ve spent the last 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. I was an energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World before moving to business-to-business media at PennWell Publishing, which later became Clarion Events, where I covered the electric power industry. I joined Endeavor Business Media in November 2021 to help launch EnergyTech, one of the company’s newest media brands. I joined Microgrid Knowledge in July 2023. 

I earned my Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. My career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World, all in Oklahoma . I have been married to Laura for the past 33-plus years and we have four children and one adorable granddaughter. We want the energy transition to make their lives better in the future. 

Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech are focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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