Powering Strong Communities

Snohomish County PUD Marks Completion of Microgrid and Clean Energy Center

Washington State’s Snohomish County PUD recently hosted a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of its Arlington Microgrid and Clean Energy Center.

The project is located near the Arlington Airport and demonstrates multiple uses of energy storage, including utility-scale battery energy storage, residential battery energy storage and vehicle-to-grid charging systems.

The PUD’s Arlington Microgrid is a combination of a 500-kilowatt solar array, 1-megawatt/1.4-megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery energy storage system and a pair of vehicle-to-grid charging stations. The group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources focus on disaster recovery, grid resiliency and electric vehicle integration.

Washington’s Department of Commerce Managing Director Jennifer Grove stressed the importance of collaborating with forward-thinking utilities like the PUD in her remarks. The PUD received $3.5 million in funding from the Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund.

Other attendees included U.S. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, state Senator June Robinson, and Representatives Keith Goehner, Mike Steele and Carolyn Eslick, and members of the Arlington City Council.

John Haarlow, PUD CEO/General Manager, spoke about the project’s connection to the future and how the PUD is working to better understand new technology.

“The lessons the PUD is learning at this project every day are informing our future,” said Haarlow. “Battery energy storage will help make critical infrastructure impervious to outages and help us meet energy demand when customer usage is at its highest. Vehicle-to-grid charging will allow us to work with homeowners and business owners to leverage EVs as backup or grid-assisted power sources.”

The Arlington Microgrid was designed and sized to provide power to the Clean Energy Center and a future community office, which is currently under construction on the site, during an outage that could be caused by a major windstorm or earthquake.

PUD Generation Engineer Scott Gibson, who oversaw the Arlington Microgrid project, and Hitachi Energy General Manager of Grid Edge Solutions Antonio Verga both spoke on the complexity of the project and the key to collaboration between the PUD and the numerous vendors.

“The Arlington Microgrid provides a foundation for meeting both today’s emerging energy challenges and the future energy needs in Washington state and beyond,” said Verga.

One of the most impressive aspects of the project is the ability for the microgrid to disconnect from the electrical grid and transition to microgrid mode seamlessly, the PUD said.

“At most microgrids, the disconnection from the larger grid to microgrid mode is very noticeable and can result in a momentary power interruption lasting several seconds,” said Gibson. “At the Arlington Microgrid this transition is not noticeable to the eye or even the PUD’s metering equipment and has no effect on computer systems running in the Clean Energy Center. This is a significant achievement.”

The PUD plans to use the Clean Energy Center and accompanying solar tree to demonstrate microgrid technology and educate the public about battery energy storage and vehicle-to-grid technology.

For more on the Arlington Microgrid and Clean Energy Center, visit snopud.com/microgrid.