SoCalGas Now Powering Two Los Angeles Facilities with Bloom Energy “AlwaysON” Microgrids

by SoCalGas

This summer’s heatwave and rolling power outages weare a reminder of the importance of having clean and reliable technologies that help reduce emissions and reduce the demand on our electric grid. One example is fuel cells. Earlier this year, SoCalGas installed natural gas-powered fuel cell systems at two of our largest facilities in the Los Angeles area. These fuel cells allow energy to be generated right where it is needed and makes the facilities independent from the power grid.

Almost all (90 percent) of the facilities’ power is generated through this fuel cell microgrid rather than from the electric grid, providing reliable power through public safety power shutoffs or unexpected outages. And they also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they produce electricity without any combustion.  Instead, electricity is generated through an electrochemical reaction using natural gas and oxygen.

And while SoCalGas is currently using natural gas as the fuel source for these microgrids, they can also run on renewable natural gas and hydrogen, a zero-carbon fuel produced through renewable energy. Not only are fuel cells reliable, they also improve our environmental footprint.  For example, these new systems will reduce GHG emissions by 683 metric tons a year, similar to eliminating the annual GHG emissions from using electricity at approximately 112 homes. With these new technologies, SoCalGas can keep the lights on through emergency conditions and keep our operations running smoothly.