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Californias Largest Renewable Microgrid Being Developed by Enchanted Rock

Mark Bauer, Clark Bauer 06/15/2022

  On June 15th 2022, Enchanted Rock announced, they are developing California's largest renewable microgrid. The microgrid will be constructed to support Microsoft's San Jose data center campus by providing backup power to the facility. The project will fully use renewable natural gas to generate the power and is expected to provide Tier 4 diesel standards while delivering higher reliability. "Today’s digital world relies on the uptime and continuity of data center operations," says the CEO of Enchanted Rock. Companies rely on their mission-critical operations that outages can cost companies millions and sometimes billions in resources. 

 

Microgrids

   Microgrids are becoming an integral part of data center operations. Microgrids can provide everything a data center needs to stay online in the event of an outage, from the utility grid, energy storage, and generation. In Data Center Frontier's 2022 forecast, they claimed, "Microgrids are shaping up as a key enabler of on-site generation and energy diversification. Datacenter microgrids can also integrate renewable energy sources, which reduces carbon emissions. "Enchanted Rock has been deploying Microgrid solutions, including software monitoring solutions since 2006. Microsoft chose Enchanted Rock for their ability to provide a reliable net-zero solution while remaining cost-effective. 

 

Microsoft's Push for Carbon Neutrality

   By using Renewable natural gas or RNG Microsoft can operate and maintain backup power and utilities while working to meet their 2030 goal of becoming carbon neutral. RNG consists of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and methane gas generated from decomposed materials. Methane is captured from sources such as landfills, livestock, wastewater treatment, and organic industrial waste that is then refined and used in the generation process on-site. This gas will feed through the natural gas pipeline to the datacenter. Enchanted Rock says that the large-scale renewable microgrid will, despite using methane, not affect operations, "This continuity does not need to come at the expense of companies’ carbon emission reduction goals or local air quality. Microsoft’s decision to pursue a renewable microgrid marks another milestone in the industry as businesses continue to move away from conventional, less carbon-friendly methods, and we expect this project will demonstrate that large-scale, reliable, and cost-effective backup generation with net-zero carbon can become the new standard." Enchanted Rock's Renewable microgrid is expected to begin operations in 2024. 

 

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