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Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)
Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)

Berkeley Energy Assurance Transformation (BEAT) Microgrid Project

The City of Berkeley is analyzing how to create a clean energy microgrid in downtown Berkeley to provide solar power to key City facilities for daily use as well as when power is disrupted.

In Fall 2016 the City of Berkeley was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program to conduct a feasibility study and design for a microgrid in downtown Berkeley.  

The goal of the grant is to develop an innovative, scalable, and replicable clean energy microgrid that would make Berkeley more resilient and serve as a model for other communities across the State.

BEAT logoThe purpose of the Berkeley Energy Assurance Transformation (BEAT) project is to design a system that could allow buildings to share renewable energy during normal operations, and provide clean backup power to critical facilities in the event of a power outage. The BEAT project conducted a series of comprehensive technical, regulatory, and financial feasibility analyses for a microgrid that could seamlessly integrate into the existing fabric of the City, and provide sustainability and resilience  benefits to buildings that otherwise might be left unusable in the case of an emergency. The BEAT project provides options for a fully connected multi-facility microgrid as well as an alternative solar + storage system. Either option would also help transition City buildings away from fossil fuel-based electricity that contributes to climate change. 

The microgrid design consists of solar, battery energy storage and interconnected smart demand response technologies that reduce peak daily energy usage and provide clean back-up power to curb dependence on dirty diesel generators when there is a power outage. The microgrid is envisioned to serve key buildings such as City Hall, the Public Safety Building, and the Civic Center Annex building – all which provide critical services to the community. The system would be anchored at the soon-to-be rebuilt Center Street Garage in downtown Berkeley. The garage will include solar panels that could be utilized as part of the microgrid.

Like a fully connected microgid, the islandable solar + storage option would also be able to isolate from the grid in the event of a power outage and provide clean back-up power.  

Center Street Garage Rendering

The BEAT project includes innovative business and financial models, procurement plans, technology and energy load plans, and a regulatory analysis of barriers and solutions for dense urban areas looking to transform existing structures into hubs for local clean energy.

In a holistic approach to microgrid development, the project brings together policy makers, economists, engineers, experts and stakeholders to collaboratively create a thoughtful and innovative community resilience solution. The City is collaborating with several partners including URS Corporation, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Center for Sustainable Energy, Interface Engineering, West Coast Code Consultants Inc., and NHA Advisors.  

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