Port of SD Awards Cargo Terminal Microgrid Project

Feb 25, 2019

Contact: Brianne Mundy Page, 619.348.1518, 

As an environmental champion and mover of goods throughout the world, the Port of San Diego will soon begin infrastructure improvements to support future installation of a renewable, solar-powered microgrid at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, one of the Port’s two marine cargo terminals. 

At its meeting on February 12, 2019, the Board of Port Commissioners awarded a nearly $1.6 million contract to Chambers, Inc. to replace the roof of warehouse B at the terminal. The work includes removal of the existing multiple-ply, built-up roof system and installation of a new, lighter and more durable single-ply Thermoplastic Polyolefin membrane roof system. Demolition on the warehouse roof is expected to begin in late March 2019 and the roof replacement is anticipated to be completed by December 2019. 

The Microgrid Project will help to satisfy a key mitigation measure – requiring the use of renewable energy – identified in the Environmental Impact Report for the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Redevelopment Plan. The microgrid will also help the Port meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals as established in its Climate Action Plan; improve air quality by advancing electrification powered by clean, solar energy; save the Port an estimated $168,000, or 60 percent, per year over current utility rates; and enable the operation of critical terminal infrastructure for approximately 12 hours without being connected to the larger electrical grid.

“The Microgrid Project will not only help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, it will also make us more resilient in the event of natural or human-caused disasters that impact the electric grid. With the added bonus of reducing energy costs, this project is good for the community, for businesses on the terminal, and for the Port,” said Chairman Garry Bonelli, Board of Port Commissioners. 

With installation anticipated by summer of 2020, solar photovoltaic panels will power the microgrid, which will also include battery energy storage, energy efficiency improvements, electrical infrastructure improvements, and a centralized microgrid controller. The microgrid will provide back-up power to Port-operated facilities, including security infrastructure, lights, offices, and the existing jet fuel storage system, in support of the Port’s role as one of 17 designated U.S. Strategic Ports, which means the Port of San Diego stands ready to support military deployment activities. 

The microgrid project is being funded through a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), which includes $4,985,272 from the CEC, $4,427,973 in matching funds from the Port, and an additional $201,963 in matching funds from the University of California San Diego, a partner with the Port on the microgrid project. The total cost of the project is anticipated to be approximately $9,600,000.

The Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal specializes in break-bulk, refrigerated, and dry bulk cargo. Phase 1 of the redevelopment, known as the Modernization phase, is underway and will make the terminal more modern, clean and efficient. 

About the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Redevelopment Plan:
As part of Port of San Diego Maritime, the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Redevelopment Plan supports the Port’s specialty cargo advantage by providing laydown space and flexibility for each cargo type. The plan envisions three distinct cargo nodes within the existing footprint of the terminal and is focused on current core specialties of:

-Project, roll-on/roll-off, and break-bulk cargo such as military equipment, wind energy parts, shipbuilding steel, and vehicles;
-Refrigerated containers for fresh produce such as bananas or other produce; and
-Dry bulk cargo such as soda ash, aggregate and cement, used primarily in construction.

About the CEC grant:
The grant is part of the CEC’s Business Case Demonstration for Advanced Microgrids program, which aims to advance California’s energy and greenhouse gas policies in four key areas:

-Electrification: Improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
-Resiliency: Demonstrate a reliable, resilient and safe system.
-Technological Advancement: Provide technological advancement and breakthroughs to achieve the state’s statutory energy goals.
-Replicability: Develop a model that can be utilized in other locations.