Port of San Diego Approves Microgrid Installation for Terminal

San Diego modernizing terminal adding microgrid
San Diego's Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal - photo courtesy Port of San Diego

Published Nov 19, 2020 6:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners approved the installation of a microgrid, battery storage system, and electrical infrastructure at the port’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. The microgrid, which expands on the recent enhancements to the terminal, will advance the use of renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) as the Port continues to electrify the terminal. 

The microgrid will provide back-up power to port-operated facilities, including security infrastructure, lights, offices, and the existing jet fuel storage system. In preparation for the approval of the installation of the microgrid, which was one of the mitigation measures required by the environmental impact report for the terminal redevelopment, the port commissioned an energy savings report. The goal was to confirm that the modeled energy savings will exceed the construction costs. The findings show that the project will result in $3.2 million in energy savings to the port over 20 years, exceeding the project’s $2.77 million construction cost.

“This is a groundbreaking milestone for the Port and we are extremely proud to be on the forefront of collecting sustainable power and demonstrating energy resilience,” said Vice Chair Michael Zucchet, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “We will soon be one of a few ports worldwide that will have a microgrid powered by renewable energy at a cargo terminal. We look forward to demonstrating a replicable model that can be used by other ports in California and around the world.”

The total cost of the microgrid project is anticipated to be approximately $9.6 million, $4.9 million of which is funded by a California Energy Commission Electric Program Investment Change (EPIC) grant. The port is contributing $4.2 million, and the University of California San Diego, a partner with the port on the project, is contributing $201,000.

In September, the port celebrated the completion of an approximately $24 million modernization project for the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Two obsolete warehouses were removed to create a laydown area for project cargo like windmill components. It also included improvements to on-dock rail, utilities, new lighting and pavement, and a stormwater treatment system.

The modernization was the first phase of a larger Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Redevelopment Plan that envisions three distinct cargo nodes within the existing footprint of the terminal. The focus is on project, roll-on/roll-off, and break-bulk cargo, including military equipment, wind energy parts, shipbuilding steel, and vehicles; as well as fresh produce in refrigerated containers and dry bulk cargo, such as soda ash, aggregate, and cement, used primarily in construction. The plan includes a variety of infrastructure improvements that will be phased over time.