PG&E Deploys NextEra’s New Mobile Linear Generator to Replace Diesel at Napa County Microgrid

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has deployed a ‘linear generator’ - a new mobile power generation technology utilizing natural gas and directed renewable biogas to displace existing diesel generation—at its Angwin distribution microgrid site in Napa County.

August 31, 2021. By Manu Tayal

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has deployed a ‘linear generator’ - a new mobile power generation technology utilizing natural gas and directed renewable biogas to displace existing diesel generation—at its Angwin distribution microgrid site in Napa County.

Working with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC and Mainspring Energy, PG&E deployed the Mainspring linear generator as part of its commitment to integrate cleaner generation solutions for replacement power during emergencies like winter storms or earthquakes, and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events.

Currently, PG&E strategically deploys mobile, diesel generators across its service area during emergencies and PSPS outages to rapidly re-energize thousands of customers. These generators are connected to the grid at substations, distribution microgrid sites, community resource centers, and critical facilities as needed and available.

The goal of the pilot is to demonstrate the performance of new, cleaner electricity generation technology at a PG&E distribution microgrid. The linear generator will be paired with the onsite diesel generator to ensure reliable service for the community of Angwin, and PG&E will study whether the hybrid solution can reduce diesel use and emissions during emergencies or PSPS events this year.

The pilot deployment follows a rigorous testing program by PG&E and Mainspring at the Mainspring facility in Menlo Park this spring, and months of collaboration between PG&E and Mainspring engineers.

Commenting on the development, Jason Glickman, Executive Vice President, Engineering, Planning & Strategy, PG&E, said “we know how important clean, reliable energy is to our customers and communities. We are excited to explore new technologies like the linear generator to help keep customers powered during larger outages while also reducing the use of diesel backup generation. This is a low-emissions, resilient, and affordable alternative that holds a lot of promise for our future.”
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