PG&E, California’s largest utility company, has successfully launched its first renewable remote grid in Sonoma County’s Pepperwood Preserve, allowing for enhanced wildfire mitigation in the region. By replacing 0.7 miles of overhead distribution lines, the remote grid eliminates the potential risk of wildfire caused by these lines.
Remote customers within PG&E’s extensive service area often rely on long electric distribution lines that pass through high fire-risk zones. The implementation of remote grids, such as the one at Pepperwood Preserve, not only meets customers’ energy needs, but also significantly reduces the likelihood of fire ignition.
Pepperwood Preserve, a vital 3,200-acre biological reserve and home to the Dwight Center for Conservation Science, functions as a hub for climate monitoring, applied research, science education, and wildfire resilience projects. This nature preserve is inhabited by over 900 species of native plants and wildlife, making it imperative to mitigate wildfire risks in the area. The preserve itself has been directly impacted by past wildfires, such as the Tubbs fire in 2017 and the Kincade fire in 2019. The newly implemented remote grid will now power the Bechtel House at Pepperwood, accommodating overnight visitors.
The remote grid at Pepperwood Preserve was designed, constructed, and is maintained by microgrid developer BoxPower, operating under contract with PG&E. The grid comprises a BoxPower SolarContainer featuring an energy storage system, assembled at BoxPower’s facility in Grass Valley, California, and then transported to the site. A canopy solar array supplies power to the battery storage system.
This achievement marks not only PG&E’s first remote grid but also its inaugural 100% renewable standalone power system. The implementation of renewable remote grids, like the one at Pepperwood, offers a cost-effective approach to mitigating wildfire risks in environmentally sensitive regions, serving as a model for potential future deployments across multiple remote sites.
PG&E’s remote grid at Pepperwood Preserve is the company’s fifth operational remote grid since 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is a remote grid?
- Why is the implementation of a remote grid important for wildfire mitigation?
- Who designed and built the remote grid at Pepperwood Preserve?
- How does the remote grid at Pepperwood Preserve operate?
- Are there plans for further implementation of remote grids by PG&E?
A remote grid is an independent power system that serves remote customers through long electric distribution lines, often located in high fire-risk areas.
By replacing traditional overhead distribution lines, remote grids significantly reduce the risk of wildfires caused by these lines.
Microgrid developer BoxPower designed, constructed, and maintains the remote grid at Pepperwood Preserve under contract with PG&E.
The remote grid at Pepperwood Preserve features a BoxPower SolarContainer with an energy storage system powered by a canopy solar array.
Yes, PG&E has already implemented four other operational remote grids since 2021.