Hydrogen Energy Storage System at Borrego Springs Towards an H2 Enabled 100 Renewable Microgrid

Research output: NRELPresentation


San Diego Gas & Electric's Borrego Springs Microgrid is one of the largest microgrids in the USA, serving 2500 residential customers, 300 commercial and industrial customers, and has a peak demand of approximately 14 MW. This microgrid is located at the end of a long transmission line, and is subjected to extreme weather events like storms, wildfires, and flooding, which frequently cause grid outages. The microgrid currently relies on 3.65 MW of diesel-powered generators to provide grid-forming services during these outages, which results in greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. However, the microgrid has access to approximately 37 MW of installed solar generation and struggles with overgeneration and curtailment. 1.5 MW/4.5 MWh of grid-scale batteries have been installed to capture some the overgeneration and provide resiliency, but a longer-duration low-greenhouse gas emission energy storage solution is needed. In our project, the team will evaluate in the lab and demonstrate in the field a grid-forming fuel cell inverter that can provide grid-forming services while utilizing hydrogen's energy storage scalability. We will first utilize NREL's Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization (REopt) platform to perform analyses on future microgrid scenarios that use hydrogen assets to reduce or eliminate the need for diesel backup generators. We will then evaluate the grid-forming inverter through power hardware-in-the-loop and controller hardware-in-the-loop experiments at ARIES, and de-risk the field deployment and operation of hydrogen assets in the microgrid setting. Finally, this project will demonstrate the operation of the fuel cell inverter and updated microgrid controller by operating in grid-forming mode in the Borrego Springs microgrid.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2023 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting (AMR), 5-8 June 2023, Arlington, Virginia

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5D00-85597


  • Borrego Springs
  • generators
  • microgrid
  • underserved communities


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