(Indian Energy, 12.Oct.2020) — Long-duration, non-lithium ion energy storage is the final key to unlocking renewables and permanently evading the blackouts and brownouts that California is currently facing due to fires, a changing energy mix and climate change. Without storage, 100% renewables penetration is not possible. To address this, the California Energy Commission (CEC) wisely foresaw the challenge and awarded a number of grants earlier this year to lead in solving these problems.
Indian Energy LLC, a 100% Native American-owned utility-scale and microgrid development and systems integration firm, was awarded $1.2mn by the CEC to demonstrate a non-lithium ion, long-duration energy storage solution.
The grant was the result of CEC Solicitation GFO-19-306, “Demonstrating Long-Duration and Title 24-Compatible Energy Storage Technologies.” The purpose of this solicitation was to fund technology demonstration and the deployment of research projects that support the State of California’s “Development of Customer’s Business Proposition to Accelerate Integrated Distributed Storage Market.” The energy storage goals are aimed to rapidly advance the deployment of state-of-the-art and 100% renewable microgrids in California. These projects involve both the installation and operation of pre-and post commercial energy storage technologies. These applications have been a pressing need across the region and the State of California, as a whole.
Utilizing the grant funds; Indian Energy, along with strategic partners Webcor and KE Storage Corporation (KESC), will develop an energy storage Integration and Certification Unit (VICU), located on the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay lands. The VICU will demonstrate the long duration energy storage capabilities of (KESC) NextGenTM flywheel technology. The project will also incorporate 150kW of Solar PV and provide grid support and resiliency to the Tribe’s Emergency Medical Services facility.
This project has a broad base of support from both government and industry leadership.
“We are excited to partner with Indian Energy on the VICU demonstration project. While showing the environmentally sound merits of non-lithium based energy storage, this project will also provide resiliency to a key medical facility on our lands. This project will lay the foundation for a true energy sovereign solution for our tribal members and businesses,” said John Christman, Chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.
“The insight of the CEC to accelerate energy storage is visionary and Indian Country is honored to play a critical role in demonstrating the value of long-duration, utility-scale energy storage. Due to the State’s current firestorms, historical record-breaking heat and the incredible stress being put upon the State’s local and regional grids, this need for energy storage has proven to be most opportune. This timely effort and vision could not be more prevelant as seen by the regional outages and ever-increasing rolling brown outs,” said Allen G. Cadreau, CEO of Indian Energy.
Indian Energy also recently executed a construction management contract with Webcor to assist the Company with this and other projects the Company has been awarded.
“We are excited about this progress within the energy storage and microgrid space and are standing beside Indian Energy, ready to assist them, and The Viejas People, realize their energy goals,” said Mike Firenze, Director of Federal Programs at Webcor. “Webcor has long been recognized for our team’s unparalleled work in advancing the practices of sustainability in construction, and as such makes us uniquely prepared to aid in combating the current plight facing California and these initial, crucial steps in renewable energy represent our progress to date in a big way.”