Concentric Power building 5-MW generator-solar-storage microgrid at CA potato farm

Photo and rendering courtesy Concentric Power

Work has begun on a 5-MW microgrid project at a California potato farming operation in one of the nation’s most important agricultural regions.

Concentric Power is guiding development and deployment of the micogrid incorporating on-site combined heat and power (CHP), solar and energy storage. Tasteful Selections, the farmer-owned, bite-size potato growing, pack and shipping operation, will utilize the microgrid on its site in the Central Valley.

 Tasteful Selections will own the microgrid while Concentric Power will design, build, operate and maintain the system for the life of the equipment, which is approximately 25 years. 

rendering of the Tasteful Selections farm microgrid project

“Throughout California, we’re seeing how microgrids can be a game changer for ag customers, and this project is another step in our journey towards changing the energy industry landscape in the state and beyond,” said Brian Curtis, CEO at Concentric Power. “Tasteful Selections has been an incredible partner and we’re looking forward to jointly seeing this project provide energy resilience and sustainability for them in the long run.” 

The construction phase will employ about 30 jobs with the $12 million project expected to be completed sometime during the third quarter. The microgrid will center around 3.6 MW of natural gas-fired cogeneration power providing both electricity and heat for operations.

In addition to the on-site gen-set, the Tasteful Selections microgrid will include 120-kW solar and 1.25-MW/625 kWh lithium-ion battery storage capacity. Concentric Power’s microgrid controller will integrate with Tasteful Selection’s equipment automation platform to deliver active and predictive load management, ensuring optimal performance of Tasteful Selection’s operation during both normal daily operations as well as during outage events. Concentric Power designed the project to account for the site’s individual characteristics.

“We’re excited to be working with Concentric Power because their core values align with ours and this microgrid optimizes our operation,” said Bob Bender, CEO and President at Tasteful Selections. “The resilience and sustainability that this project brings to the table shifts our focus from energy stability to our core business rather than the headaches of energy outages and price spikes.” 

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 Impetus for the microgrid project was meeting energy supply challenges, financial savings, emissions reduction and embracing new technology to achieve greater efficiency. The microgrid will combine reliable firm power, clean solar power, battery storage and an intelligent microgrid controller that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning technology to proactively manage energy supply and demand to ensure the lowest cost energy resource is used at any given time. 

The farming operation could save up to 40 percent on energy costs and avoid supply fluctuations during California’s volatile weather, according to reports. Tasteful Selections employs about 1,100 people at the farming site in Arvin, CA.

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POWERGEN International will feature sessions on microgrid technologies when it happens live Jan. 26-28, 2022 in Dallas. The POWERGEN Call for Speakers is now open and seeking submissions for session ideas. The topic tracks include Decarbonization, Digitalization, The Future of Electricity, Energy Storage Breakthroughs, Hydrogen: What’s New, What’s Next?, Optimizing Plant Performance, the New Energy Mix (CHP, microgrids) and Trends in Conventional Power. Click here to see more and submit a session idea.

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