San Diego Gas & Electric is working on two hydrogen pilot projects, two battery storage facilities and a vehicle-to-grid pilot program as part of its effort to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
The utility is working with local startups and organizations on a variety of hydrogen, energy storage, and electric-vehicle charging infrastructure projects, which "illustrate some of the concrete steps SDG&E is taking to deliver on its sustainability commitments," it said in a press release.
SDG&E is scheduled to break ground on two hydrogen pilot projects that should test several use cases for the fuel. The Borrego Springs Green Hydrogen Project is being designed to demonstrate hydrogen applicability for long-duration energy storage as well as as a microgrid asset and reliability resource. The Palomar Green Hydrogen Systems Project is intended to show how hydrogen can be blended with natural gas to fuel an electric generator. The facility will also produce green hydrogen to be used as a cooling gas. Both projects are expected to come on line in 2022.
SDG&E is also planning to install its first hydrogen fueling station in support of its fuel-cell fleet vehicles.
"Getting to a net zero future is the moonshot challenge of our era and one that the SDG&E team fully embraces," SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn said in a news release. "While we'll continue to evolve our efforts to reflect stakeholder feedback, regulatory changes, and technological breakthroughs, I believe we can get there . . . one project at a time."
Energy storage is also a focus for the investor-owned utility, which owns and operates 45 MW of energy storage across 13 facilities. SDG&E said it expects to have a total of 135 MW of integrated utility-owned energy storage once three additional projects begin commercial operation later this year.
The 30-MW/120-MWh Top Gun Energy Storage project, located in the Miramar area of San Diego, should come on line in June. Kearny Energy Storage, a 20-MW/80-MWh project in San Diego, is scheduled to break ground later this month. It should be operational in either late summer or early fall, according to SDG&E. The Fallbrook Energy Storage facility, located in an unincorporated area of northern San Diego County, is a 40-MW/160-MWh project scheduled to start construction in late 2021 or early 2022.
Additionally, SDG&E is expanding its EV charging network through the Bringing Chargers to Parks and Beaches project, slated to add 140 chargers in 22 locations, and Power Your Drive for Fleets, a program for installing medium- and heavy-duty EV infrastructure that commenced operation in March, and that aims to serve at least 3,000 vehicles at 300 sites.
Later this month, SDG&E will start construction on a vehicle-to-grid pilot program based at the Cajon Valley Union School District. The utility is installing 60-kW bidirectional DC fast chargers intended to serve six of the district's electric buses that were purchased with federal funds.
The five-year pilot project is being developed by Nuvve, which is based in San Diego. The bus batteries will charge during times when solar energy is plentiful across the local grid, and will discharge as the sun sets.
"Our school district has benefitted greatly from the electrification of our school buses," Scott Buxbaum, assistant superintendent of business services for the school district, said in the same news release. "Working with SDG&E on the vehicle to grid pilot program, we will be able to take it a step further by providing energy from the batteries back to the electric grid, which we can use to benefit our community during times of high demand and explore ways to save money."
The utility said its climate pledge covers all of its direct emissions as well as those generated by its customers.
"Clean air goes hand in hand with clean energy and clean transportation," Rita Redaelli, executive director of the American Lung Association, California-San Diego, said in a news release. "We are excited about the prospect of more electric cars, buses, and trucks on the road, as SDG&E scales up the charging network in our region."
SDG&E said it is looking for additional opportunities to collaborate with local businesses in its service area on other similar projects.
The utility serves customers in San Diego County and southern Orange County with both electricity and natural gas. It is a Sempra Energy subsidiary.