Tenino Microgrid

This Grid Modernization initiative, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce, is another step in our continued commitment to bringing new technology to our customers. By designing, installing, and testing the first utilty scale, battery-plus-solar microgrid in PSE's service area, our combined efforts will enhance services for the Tenino community and pave the way for a cleaner, better energy future for all of us. This innovative project is possible thanks to a generous $2.7 million grant from the Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund, in addition to a multi-million dollar investment from PSE. Additionally, PSE was awarded a $150,000 grant from Washington State Department of Commerce Clean Energy fund that will help with analysis and preliminary design to add a renewable hydrogen and/or renewable natural gas-powered generator to the microgrid project at Tenino High School. The microgrid will help meet the community’s requirements to use the school as an emergency shelter in response to severe weather or during natural disasters.

We are also very grateful to the City of Tenino and for the Tenino School District's partnership. What we learn here could eventually be scaled and adapted to benefit other communities in ways that have never been possible before. Likewise, we're thrilled that our data and project details could support local educational initiatives and benefit students of all ages.

Project details

Solar panels are a renewable energy source that can help reduce greenhouse gas. Batteries can store solar energy for later use— like when the sun doesn't shine, or during an outage. This innovative project combines both technologies to bring new, and cleaner, energy solutions to Tenino. It will also provide vital learning opportunities for PSE and the entire utility industry.

The primary installation will be an approximately 1MW/2MWh lithium-ion battery at PSE’s Blumaer substation and solar array on adjacent land, complementing existing solar panels at nearby Tenino High School. Combined, the system will form a microgrid capable of providing temporary back-up power to the school during an outage.

PSE will install a second battery in the town of Bucoda to enhance local reliability. This installation will also be a 1MW/2MWh lithium-ion battery.

Anticipated timeline

Summer/Fall 2020: Contracting with partners and launching research phase
Spring 2021: Launch design phase
Fall 2023: Signed contract with DOC for CEF4 with completion of feasibility study by Spring 2024
Spring 2024: System delivery and breaking ground on installation process
Summer 2024: Systems integration and commissioning
Through 2025: Use case and performance testing by PSE and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

What’s a microgrid?

Although microgrids can vary widely in size and design, they’re basically localized systems that can generate and deliver energy. They can function alongside the main grid, or independently in an “island” mode when disconnected from it (e.g., during an outage). The microgrid we're building in Tenino will use a battery to store energy from connected solar panels. During an outage, that system can island the high school and provide temporary back-up power for critical functions–like refrigeration, heating, and interior lights.

ArticleImageBlumaer map