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San Diego Gas & Electric's Borrego Springs Microgrid Studied by ADS

The narrative-style case study is the sixth in an ADS series that goes behind the scenes to examine the goals, reasoning, and processes used to design and evaluate program and project offerings and tools.

The Association for Demand Response & Smart Grid (ADS) released a new case study that examines how San Diego Gas & Electric's Borrego Springs microgrid was designed, approved, and implemented as a utility-owned microgrid, as well as how the stakeholders involved had to learn, adapt, and change along the way. The narrative-style case study is the sixth in an ADS series that goes behind the scenes to examine the goals, reasoning, and processes used to design and evaluate program and project offerings and tools.

"This case study highlights how numerous state and federal stakeholders collaborated to create a utility-owned microgrid project that now provides a remote town with much greater electricity reliability," said Dan Delurey, CEO of ADS. "This project demonstrates that utilities can alter their existing business models and work with communities to come up with solutions that are beneficial for all of the parties involved."    

Delurey noted that SDG&E's microgrid project was chosen as a case study subject because of its innovative approaches and its applicability to jurisdictions for utilities of any size or governance structure. The case study, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, explains that the following are among the lessons learned by SDG&E over the course of the microgrid project:

  1. Be sure to include a technical evaluation on all plug and play technology to ensure everything works in your specific environment.
  2. Make sure the community is involved and has buy-in to the project.
  3. Include a lot of simulations and modeling before putting everything together.
  4. Be aware of all regulations (siting, emissions, etc.) before launching the project.

"Like the previous case studies released by ADS, the case study of the SDG&E Borrego Springs microgrid uses interviews to provide an inside view of implementing a smart grid project," said Delurey. "You get to hear from SDG&E personnel and others not just what their conclusions are, but how they got there, with all of the starts, stops, and course changes along the way. We hope that practitioners and policymakers will use this to see what lessons were learned by SDG&E and how they might be applied to their own work."

The case study can be found on the ADS website at www.demandresponsesmartgrid.org/CaseStudies.

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