California commercial potato grower taps Concentric for a 5-MW microgrid

Microgrid developer Concentric Power announced this week that it has broken ground on a 5-MW microgrid for Tasteful Selections, a vertically integrated farmer-owned, farmer-driven bite-size potato growing, packing and shipping operation.   

Combining 3.6 MW cogeneration firm power with 120-kW solar and 1.25-MW/625-kWh lithium-ion battery storage, the microgrid has approximately 5-MW total capacity with provisions to add additional renewables, including more solar and renewable natural gas. It is architected to create efficiency at every turn, from capturing and repurposing heat to optimizing engine efficiency and advanced load side management. The microgrid incorporates solar energy generation and battery storage to provide Tasteful Selections a pathway to net zero carbon. Further, it’s expected to save the company 40% on energy costs.

Concentric Power’s microgrid controller will integrate with Tasteful Selection’s equipment automation platform to deliver active and predictive load management, ensuring optimal performance of Tasteful Selection’s operation during both normal daily operations as well as during outage events. Concentric Power’s control and dispatch platform is cloud-based and will be complimented by a physical Network Operation center (NOC) staffed by engineers and technicians. “What we’re doing here is an industry-standard-setting microgrid design,” said Mike Delgado, vice president of engineering and services at Concentric Power. 

The microgrid will provide Tasteful Selections’ resilience through “islanding” capability for continued operations during power outages including PSPS events within the broader utility grid. Tasteful Selections will own the microgrid while Concentric Power will design, build, operate and maintain the system for the life of the equipment, which is approximately 25 years. 

“Throughout California, we’re seeing how microgrids can be a game changer for ag customers, and this project is another step in our journey towards changing the energy industry landscape in the state and beyond,” said Brian Curtis, CEO at Concentric Power. “Tasteful Selections has been an incredible partner and we’re looking forward to jointly seeing this project provide energy resilience and sustainability for them in the long run.” 

“We’re excited to be working with Concentric Power because their core values align with ours and this microgrid optimizes our operation,” said Bob Bender, CEO and President at Tasteful Selections. “The resilience and sustainability that this project brings to the table shifts our focus from energy stability to our core business rather than the headaches of energy outages and price spikes.” 

The partnership between Concentric Power and Tasteful Selections will support over 30 construction jobs and create at least five full time roles – including engineering, operations and maintenance and asset management – within Kern County. The $12 million project is expected to be online in Q3 2021.