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19 Technical Airports and public transit facilities and operations represent good opportunities for microgrid adoption. With regard to technical aspects, opportunities and considerations may include: â¢ Physical space: One complication of incorporating a microgrid into an existing facility is space limitations. Internally, electrical rooms need to have capacity for a microgrid controller and potentially for additional switchgear. Externally, space can be required for solar PV, inverters, battery storage, fuel cells, and/or turbines. Airports and transit facilities generally have large roof areas, unused surrounding area, and switchrooms designed with future expansion in mind. â¢ Dedicated engineers/technicians: The addition of a microgrid controller does not neces- sarily increase the amount of maintenance required at a site; however, renewable energy components, storage, and other on-site generation needs do increase relative to a basic grid connection. Airports and public transit entities have dedicated engineers, technicians, and maintenance staff who generally are located on site, though additional specialized training and development may be needed. The maintenance increase may be prohibitive for many other facilities, whereas the necessary personnel already exist for airports and public transit operations. â¢ Advantageous demand profiles: On-site solar PV generation is most successful when high building loads occur at the same time as generation. Airport demand profiles typically show a high demand throughout the day and into the late evening. The late-evening load is an opportunity to deploy stored energy (charged by solar power or low-rate nighttime utility grid electricity) and discharge power during peak periods when electricity is at peak price (during those high evening loads). Few commercial buildings have this opportunity because they experience high daytime loads that taper off at around 6:00 p.m. â¢ Existing microgrid components: Many airports and public transit hubs already have systems that could be incorporated into a microgrid. Components may include on-site solar PV, wind turbines, co-generation plants, battery storage, fuel cells, and medium-voltage distribution facilities. These existing systems can be incorporated into a working microgrid by adding a microgrid controller and potentially minor upgrades to system configuration. DER generally represents the bulk of the microgrid cost in these situations. â¢ Spare capacity: Many existing commercial buildings have smaller scale electrical systems that function at low voltage and with little spare capacity. The smaller scale limits the amount of on-site energy generation that can be connected to the system. Airports and public transit systems can be medium-voltage customers whose larger scale systems are more likely to have the capacity for larger DER integration. C H A P T E R 4 Opportunities
20 Microgrids and Their Application for Airports and Public Transit â¢ Electrification: Many emissions reduction strategies include the practice of electrification. This practice involves replacing systems powered by natural gas or diesel fuels with systems powered by electricity. Specific upgrades may include the introduction of electric vehicles or having planes rely on gate-provided electricity rather than on diesel generators. Meeting increased demands by on-site generation and storage rather than by increased utility grid consumption potentially requires system upgrades. The University of California, San Diego looks for opportunities for collaboration with entities outside of their organization. They are looking to expand their bio- gas and anaerobic digester systems by exploring partnerships with the city, local microbreweries, and hospitals. This effort may involve taking waste from other facilities and sharing a portion of the energy produced. The university suggests that landfills and dairy farms may be potential partners for airports. University of California, San Diego Financial The financial opportunities that microgrids can represent for airports and public transit enti- ties vary based on location, given differing energy pricing, utility service offerings, and state incentives. The most relevant mechanisms are ownership models, revenue streams, financing, and funding. Financial opportunities may include: â¢ Eligibility for the federal investment tax credit (ITC): Non-municipal/government build- ings are eligible for the ITC, a federal subsidy for solar, wind, and geothermal systems and for battery systems that are paired with solar PV systems. Depending on the airport and transit facility ownership, the ITC may be available directly or indirectly (i.e., with third-party involvement). â¢ Grants and incentives: Many grants and incentives are state based, so opportunities differ based on locale. As an example, California offers the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), one of the largest DG incentive programs in the country. The SGIP currently offers up to a $0.50/Watt-hour incentive for battery storage installation (CSE 2017). The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) program has sponsored almost $20 million in microgrid feasibility studies in that state (NYSERDA 2017). â¢ Energy performance contracting: This type of financing is repaid through ongoing energy cost savings. â¢ Revenue streams: Revenue streams involving wholesale markets, ancillary services, demand response, arbitrage, bilateral agreements, and so forth. â¢ Third-party involvement: A P3 involves an agreement between a public agency and one or more private sector entities to deliver a project. P3s or, alternatively, Power Purchase Agree- ments (PPAs), can reduce the up-front costs of a renewable energy or storage system and shift the responsibility of maintenance to the system owner. With a PPA, a third party owns and maintains the system, charging the user for the electricity used by the facility. If an airport or transit operator cannot take advantage of the ITC, a PPA may be a good option. â¢ Access to capital markets and private investments: Capital finance opportunities now exist that provide funding avenues specifically for microgrids.
Opportunities 21 Regulatory/Policy Increasingly, new sustainability and resiliency goals are being set by U.S. cities and states. This development has pressed companies to re-assess or create their own sustainability and resiliency targets and policies. In airports and public transit agencies, sustainability policies have been com- mon for some time, and they may be a source of additional funding or internal support toward creation or expansion of a microgrid. Regulatory and policy elements to examine include: â¢ Organization sustainability goals: Many airport and public transit entities have established policies and goals regarding sustainability and the environment, and these policies and goals can involve microgrid implementation. Goals may include achieving building ratings such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), realizing zero net energy, or broadly reducing energy use and carbon emissions. â¢ Internal resiliency goals: Resiliency goals may be structured not only to address major disas- ters, but also to preserve the ability to deliver services through heat waves or small, inter- mittent outages. Most public transit entities have goals for the number of on-time services delivered over a period of time. â¢ State and city climate impact goals: In 2017, 13 U.S. states and territories and hundreds of cities, universities, and companies pledged to uphold the Paris climate agreement, which will involve cutting emissions by up to 28% below 2005 levels over the next 3 years (Schlanger 2017). The majority of U.S. airports are local government agencies, and as such will be involved in reaching these goals. These aggressive targets will continue to support the move toward renewable energy, energy efficiency, and microgrid implementation. â¢ New tariff structures: Utilities are moving toward developing and adopting new tariff struc- tures to accommodate microgrids. In turn, the new tariff structures may lead to further opportunities. The DOD also looks for opportunities to partner with utilities and private companies, preferring to use Energy Performance Contracting leases and third-party ownership rather than direct outlays of capital. Potential partners include datacenters, which they are exploring as an option to on-sell excess renewable energy generation. Black Start Innovation