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News»VERGE 2019 Microgrid Demonstrates Solution to California’s Power Crisis

VERGE 2019 Microgrid Demonstrates Solution to California’s Power Crisis

November 19, 2019

Organized by Greenbiz Group to accelerate the clean economy, the VERGE 2019 conference at the Oakland Convention center happened to be the very same week the Kinkade Fire broke out in Sonoma County, less than an hour's drive away. In conjunction, red flag wildfire conditions forced PG&E to cut power to millions of customers across the region. The costs of power outages reverberated up and down the state throughout October. Considering the environment and challenges Californians were facing, the event's mission to bring business leaders together to share knowledge on ways to accelerate the transition to a clean economy never felt more timely.

Further demonstrating its mission, VERGE organizers constructed a 100% renewably powered microgrid on 10th street in downtown Oakland to power the event's main stage and several EV charging stations. At the center of the microgrid, Blue Planet Energy's Blue Ion LX-HV energy storage system provided enough battery capacity (64 kWh) and power conditioning (125 kWac) to power the event. Diverse charging sources including a 72 kWac solar PV array mounted on the Golden State Warriors' former practice facility, and a biogas generator brought in by All Power Labs for the event. Microgrid site control and visualization equipment from Ageto Energy integrated the system components and provided event-goers with a detailed view of the microgrid's operation.

The microgrid was open for tours by conference attendees as well as the general public. It showcased industry-leading technologies that provide reliable, cost-effective, grid-independent power of commercial, industrial, and agricultural customers. Despite local PG&E power cuts, the VERGE event was self-powered by the microgrid for duration of the conference.

Watch as Blue Planet Energy's VP of Business Development Gregg Murphy provides an overview of the various microgrid components and how they seamlessly integrate to deliver reliable power for the VERGE event.

Blue Planet Energy’s COO Chris Johnson had a chance to speak with Holly Secon, associate editor at Greenbiz Group, about the key to developing energy resilience. With recent power outages and wildfires across the Bay Area in mind, Johnson says, "We're seeing that the old model of electrical grids is broken. It's centralized, it's far away and it's controlled by a monopoly company."

For a closer look at how the microgrid not only powered the VERGE event, but also charged several EVs using renewable energy and Blue Ion energy storage, check out this video below.

To dive deeper into the microgrid story, here are two final interviews of Eric Faurot, CEO of Greenbiz Group and Douglas Ledbetter, project developer for Engie, speaking about the importance of energy storage in a microgrid and how the technology is accessible today.

Hats off to Greenbiz group for another excellent renewably-powered event and to all the microgrid partners who made it real.

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