Case Study

Clean Energy and Energy Resilience

ADL Ventures and PG&E have collaborated since early summer 2020 to evaluate diesel alternatives to mitigate the impact of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

Outputs of our efforts over four months include a techno-economic analysis that was released publicly as part of PG&E’s response to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Microgrid OIR proceeding and a collaborative workshop that included over 100 leading voices on resilience featured in this Microgrid Knowledge article.

The document, downloadable here and viewable below, is a publicly-available analysis titled An Economic, Technical, and Environmental Analysis of Diesel Alternatives to Mitigating the Impact of Public Safety Power Shutoffs on PG&E Customers.

The Situation

PG&E has established PSPS protocols to de-energize at-risk lines during dry, high-wind conditions to reduce wildfire risk. Though PG&E is working aggressively to reduce the scope, scale, and duration of future PSPS events, they will likely remain an important tool to avoid catastrophic wildfires in the near- and medium-terms.

Despite its environmental drawbacks, diesel generation (including HVO) was the only commercially-available and scalable solution that fully met PG&E’s requirements. While diesel is effective from a technical standpoint – it is power-dense, load-following, mobile, ramps quickly, and meets frequency requirements – it remains relatively expensive and not preferred from an environmental perspective.

Given that no individual solution outperforms in all three categories (economic, technical, and environmental), trade-offs must be carefully considered when selecting an individual or combination of alternative technologies to provide resilience to PG&E’s customer base at the lowest cost and with the lowest environmental impact.

Our techno-economic analysis focuses on identifying gaps and opportunities for cleaner technologies to mitigate the impact of PSPS events on PG&E’s customers. 

The Executive Summary starts on page 8 of the document below.