Schatz Energy Research Center
An electrician removes fuse covers using a safety pole
BLR lead electrician Randy Cox prepares for fuse replacements

Blue Lake Rancheria microgrid battery expansion

The Blue Lake Rancheria’s main campus microgrid currently has a 500 kW battery system with an energy storage capacity of 950 kWh. We are in the process of integrating a new 634 kW / 1,014 kWh battery storage system into the existing microgrid. This additional storage will capture more solar energy and enhance system resilience while reducing to near-zero the need for legacy backup diesel generation when islanding or during emergencies.

This week, our microgrid team and the Blue Lake Rancheria utilities teams took a major project step by connecting a 2.5 MVA transformer to the microgrid’s 12 kV backbone. This transformer connects the new battery system to the microgrid and provides new electrical service for the Toma Resilience Campus, which is scheduled to open in 2021. The Toma will house sustainability-oriented programs in five major areas: disaster preparedness, response and recovery; clean energy; smart technology; light manufacturing; and sustainable food production.

Yesterday, we:

  • islanded the Blue Lake Rancheria campus from the power grid
  • de-energized the 12kV backbone, while keeping critical site functions online
  • connected the new 2.5 MVA transformer to the 12 kV backbone
  • upgraded fuses and adjusted relay settings at the point of common coupling with the power grid
  • reconnected to the power grid
  • conducted regression testing on the upgraded microgrid control system

Next steps include the final commissioning of the battery system and a witness test by PG&E to receive final permission to operate. The new system will be fully operational this fall.

Further reading…

  • On September 5, the Blue Lake Rancheria received a Green Power Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency for powering 23% of their electricity needs via the microgrid, cultivating partnerships to build local expertise in green power, and educating local and national audiences about microgrids.
  • Learn more about our microgrid project work

Schatz Energy news


Schatz Energy news