Catalina Repower Feasibility Study: NREL Phases I & II Summary Report

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Engineers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) supported Southern California Edison (SCE) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by conducting technical and economic analyses for energy systems at Santa Catalina (Catalina) Island, which is located 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, California. This effort was part of a broader Repower Catalina Feasibility Study that was also supported by NV5, an engineering consulting firm and project partner to NREL for this analysis. This document describes NREL’s techno-economic modeling and optimization analysis for the first two phases of this project which focus on supply-side generation and energy storage options for Catalina. SCE’s goal for this analysis is to determine a strategy for electricity generation on Catalina Island that results in lower energy costs, improved energy resiliency, and reduced air emissions. EPA goals for this effort are to reduce emissions of air pollution and encourage renewable energy development on contaminated and formerly contaminated lands when such development is aligned with the community’s vision for the site. Currently, an on-island SCE power plant serves the Catalina Island electrical load with 6 reciprocating diesel generators totaling 9.4 MW; 23 propane-fueled microturbines totaling 1.5 MW; and a 1-MW, 7.2-MWh sodium sulfur battery energy storage system (BESS). In 2017, the electricity consumption on the island was 29.1 GWh, with an average load of 3.3 MW and peak load of approximately 5.5 MW. Considering new environmental standards on diesel generator emissions from California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, a 60% renewable energy target for 2030 laid out in California’s Senate Bill 100, SCE’s Clean Power Electrification Pathway, and the characteristics of the island’s existing diesel generators, SCE is seeking to evaluate the technical and economic implications of different energy technology options to determine a path forward. Phases I and II of the Repower Catalina Feasibility Study, summarized in this document, evaluated the following: Interconnection with the mainland via an undersea cable; On-island fossil fuel generation, including diesel, propane, and/or liquified natural gas (LNG); On-island renewable energy (RE) technologies, including solar photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines, and wave energy devices; BESS to support the above generation technologies; Initial analysis of the potential impacts of implementing energy efficiency measures. Results indicate strong techno-economic potential for a mix of on-island diesel and/or propane generators, solar PV, BESS, and energy efficiency measures to help SCE and Catalina achieve their goals compliant with California’s emissions and clean energy standards while minimizing electricity life cycle costs (LCC) over the 30-year analysis period. This document summarizes the considerations and findings of Phases I and II, focusing on high-level takeaways from Phase I and more detailed results from Phase II, and discusses a potential path forward for Phase III.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages38
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A40-76779


  • distributed energy resources
  • energy project decisions
  • island energy system
  • REopt
  • techno-economic analysis


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