Goleta Load Pocket Community Microgrid Initiative

About the Goleta Load Pocket

The Goleta Load Pocket (GLP) spans 70 miles of California coastline, from Point Conception to Lake Casitas, encompassing the cities of Goleta, Santa Barbara (including Montecito), and Carpinteria. Because the GLP is a highly transmission-vulnerable, disaster-prone region, the GLP Community Microgrid is being designed to deliver an unparalleled trifecta of economic, environmental, and resilience benefits to the area.

To achieve indefinite renewables-driven backup power that provides 100% protection to the GLP against a complete transmission outage (“N-2 event”), 200 megawatts (MW) of solar and 400 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy storage needs to be sited within the GLP. The area has sufficient siting opportunity for these levels of solar and storage. Significant efforts are being made to align appropriate stakeholders, including property owners, policymakers, community leaders, solutions providers, and the monopoly electric utility, Southern California Edison (SCE), toward this goal.

The GLP is completely grid-dependent, generating very little of its own power. In addition, it lies at the end of the grid, getting almost all of its power from one set of transmission lines:


SCE has identified these transmission lines as being at risk for catastrophic failure from fire, earthquake, or heavy rains, which would cause a crippling, extended blackout of weeks or even months.

Providing resilience and building back right

The Goleta Load Pocket Community Microgrid Initiative provides a unique opportunity to bring resilience to the region with indefinite renewables-driven energy for critical emergency response and recovery facilities — while building back right in areas damaged by recent wildfires and debris flows. This deployment of clean local energy will showcase the grid of the future and will provide economic, environmental, and resilience benefits to the community.

Image: Areas with high/extreme risk of debris flow and flooding. Source: County of Santa Barbara

Initiative objectives

  1. —Realize a comprehensive Community Microgrid for the entire Goleta Substation grid area.
  2. Ensure that the Goleta Load Pocket resilience objective is delivered via local renewables and other distributed energy resources (DER), and preempt any new gas peaker infrastructure.
  3. —Deliver the trifecta of economic, environmental, and resilience benefits of Community Microgrids to the region.

Clean Energy 805

Promoting local renewable energy resources in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

The Clean Coalition is proud to be part of Clean Energy 805, a group working in the Goleta Load Pocket area to increase community awareness, identify potential sites for energy development, and support clean energy innovation.

Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative

Showcasing the Community Microgrid approach

In December 2017, the month-long Thomas Fire burned over 300,000 acres and devastated parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, within the Goleta Load Pocket. On January 9, 2018, in just five minutes, half an inch of rain fell over the destabilized hillsides, resulting in a debris flow of boulders, trees, and over 15 feet of mud in some locations — traveling downhill at 20 miles per hour.

Both the fire and the subsequent debris flow demonstrate the need for energy resilience in this disaster-prone region. The Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative will provide that much-needed resilience and a model for how to build back right.

Gas is not the answer

Gas lines can add fuel to wildfires. And after a disaster, it can take 30 times longer to restore gas service than electricity.

Source: The City and County of San Francisco Lifelines Study

Gas peaker plants are not clean, safe, or resilient. In addition, the Clean Coalition has shown that Community Microgrids powered by solar+storage can cost-effectively replace new gas peaker projects.

Policies and programs for a cost-effective Community Microgrid

  • Developing local DER is the only strategy that will deliver energy reliability and resilience to the area.
  • SCE’s Request for Offers (RFO) process is flawed and cannot deliver DER in the quantities needed.
  • A superior procurement method is the Clean Coalition’s cost-effective, market-responsive Feed-In Tariff (FIT), which accelerates DER development.
  • Development of local DER creates jobs and invigorates the economy, while lowering the community’s carbon footprint, in line with local and state renewable energy goals.
  • Local DER can be developed on south-facing hillsides, public facilities, and commercial-industrial  sites that currently use around 70% of all locally consumed energy.
  • Both the FIT model and savings from demand charge reductions (up to 50% for commercial properties) make commercial-scale DER highly cost-effective.

Living up to the promise of 100% renewables

California has resolved to reach 100% clean electricity by 2045. Goleta has committed to 100% renewable electricity for all municipal facilities and community-wide electricity supply by 2030.

It’s time to live up to this promise, and to realize our clean energy future.

Orange and yellow areas represent optimal sites for solar and storage in the Goleta Load Pocket — only a portion of what can be developed locally.

The perfect opportunity

For a comprehensive Community Microgrid

In October 2018, the Clean Coalition’s Craig Lewis and Gregory Young presented on what this opportunity could mean for the Goleta Load Pocket.

Learn more

Events

Media coverage

Contact us/get involved

To learn more or to get involved in the Goleta Load Pocket Community Microgrid Initiative, contact Gregory Young at gregory@clean-coalition.org.

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