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  • Kristin Cooper

Mobile Renewable Backup Generation - MORBUGs

The purpose of this solicitation is to provide $8 million of Technology Demonstration and Deployment (TD&D) and $6 million of Applied Research and Development (AR&D) funding to support the 2018-2020 EPIC Investment Plan Strategic Initiative S7.2.3 to Integrate Climate Readiness into Electricity System Operations, Tools, and Models. This solicitation will fund projects to advance clean energy mobile backup systems or Mobile Renewable Backup Generation Systems (MORBUGs) that increase the resiliency of the electricity system to climate change and extreme weather events.


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With efficiency improvements and cost reductions in renewable generation and the development of more energy-dense storage technologies, primarily for electric vehicles, it is now possible to create a clean energy mobile backup system. Some technologies are currently coming on the market to provide services such as providing power for charging phones or other electronic devices, usually in a public space, such as a campus, or to provide vehicle charging in remote locations. However, they have not been demonstrated in environments requiring greater capacity and reliability, such as during grid outages in emergency response. The lack of data on performance of these systems during critical needs, such as in power outages, is impeding their broader deployment. Demonstrations of system performance in different applications is needed to build confidence for their applications in emergencies.


Due to these reasons, these newer systems can only supplement mobile fossil backup generation but cannot fully replace a mobile fossil backup generator. Applied research is needed to design and pilot systems that can provide sufficient power and duration to fully replace a mobile fossil-fueled system.


The awarded projects in this solicitation will be in three groups: two in TD&D (Groups 1 and 2 below), and one in AR&D (Group 3 below). Projects must fall within the following project groups:

• Group 1: Demonstrating Smaller-scale MORBUGs: This group will solicit projects that can address loads up to 9 kW. Applications may include charging personal electronic devices and batteries for medical devices. They may also power Wi-Fi or cellular extenders. These systems must demonstrate a simple transportable system to get to the demonstration site with easy set up and easy removal.

• Group 2: Demonstrating Larger-scale MORBUGs: This group will solicit projects that can address loads above 10kW. These systems would be able to temporarily replace or augment a mobile fossil fuel generator and will demonstrate how long they can defer the use of fossil fuel generators. Applications may include such uses as medical support tents. It is not required that these systems fully replace diesel generation. These systems must demonstrate a simple transportable system to get to the demonstration site with easy set up and easy removal.

• Group 3: Developing Independent MORBUGs: This group will be for applied research and development on technologies to provide reliable mobile renewable backup generation. The systems must be able to support a minimum of 35 kW of continuous load for a minimum of 48 hours. Applied research is expected in system designs to increase renewable generation and storage capacity while ensuring the system meets weight and size requirements for mobility. Systems need to meet the applicable California Department of Transportation weight limit without a waiver, based on the transport vehicle selected to deliver the system to the demonstration site (category and number of wheels). Additionally, applied research may be necessary to enable systems to be combined (daisy chained) to enable greater load coverage. This may also require software development to coordinate and control multiple systems when combined. These systems must demonstrate a simple transportable system with easy set up and easy removal. Additionally, these systems must be self-contained and able to operate for the timeframe in the proposal without needed additional equipment or replacements from off the demonstration site. If a hydrogen system is proposed, the system demonstrated must contain all the required hydrogen in tanks or another suitable storage vessel so that the proposed energy level and duration can be met without needing additional hydrogen tanks during the proposed demonstration duration. Additionally, for hydrogen systems, if the proposed system does not use green electrolytic hydrogen for the demonstration system, the proposal must address how the system will eventually be transitioned to all green electrolytic hydrogen as defined in Public Utilities Code section 400.2 (SB1369, 2018).

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