Coast Guard announces first solar+storage microgrid project

The U.S. Coast Guard will build its first battery energy storage system (BESS) with its also first-time microgrid at a training center in California.

The Coast Guard selected Ameresco to provide energy savings performance contract (ESPC) services at Training Center Petaluma. The $43 million contract centers around the USCG’s first BESS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s largest solar renewable project integrating in a microgrid.

Training Center Petaluma faces a range of energy security and resiliency challenges endemic to the climate and regional power infrastructure in northern California. In light of the regularity and severity of weather events and utility interruptions affecting the site, USCG competitively selected Ameresco in February 2021 to fast-track development of a comprehensive ESPC to enhance the site’s electric infrastructure and resiliency posture.

The microgrid will integrate existing distributed backup generators with a new 5 MW solar array and an 11.6MWh BESS to power the entire site in the event of a loss of utility. Planned improvements also feature the deployment of new power distribution transformers, Smart controls in 10 buildings across campus, LED lighting improvements for over 8,000 fixtures, installation of new electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment upgrades.

“This contract award enables continuity of operations in an environment of unpredictable climate hazards and will increase Training Center Petaluma’s relevance throughout the region, while sustaining our Coast Guard mission ready total workforce,” said Capt. Steven Ramassini, commanding officer for the training campus.

The cost savings from the efficiency improvements, once completed, is projected at $1.2 million in the first year alone, according to Ameresco. It also can result in reducing the site’s electricity consumption by an estimated 8.7 million kWh.