Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is teaming up with NextEra Energy Resources and Mainspring Energy to launch a linear generator to replace the existing diesel generation at its Angwin site in Napa County.
At present, PG&E strategically deploys mobile diesel generators across its service area during emergencies and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) outages to rapidly re-power thousands of customers.
Launching the 240 kW Mainspring linear generator is part of PG&E’s commitment to implement cleaner generation solutions for power during emergencies and PSPS events. A linear generator differs from an engine, microturbine or fuel cell in that it is a device that directly converts motion along a straight line into electricity using chemical or thermal energy. Mainspring’s breakthrough technology is designed to meet grid demands by providing dispatchable, fuel-flexible power that significantly reduces cost and carbon today, while quickly transitioning to the net-zero carbon grid.
A benefit of the 240-kilowatt Mainspring linear generator is that it can quickly adapt to meet power load demands at a fraction of the emissions of reciprocating engine technologies. The linear generator is connected to both PG&E’s electric distribution system and its natural gas distribution system. NextEra Energy Resources purchases biogas fuel that is renewably produced elsewhere, and later processed and injected into the gas distribution infrastructure, offsetting the linear generator’s usage of natural gas.
The pilot project involving biogas aims to demonstrate the performance of new, cleaner electricity generation technology at a PG&E distribution microgrid. The linear generator will be paired with the onsite diesel generator to ensure a reliable service for Angwin, and the company will study whether the hybrid solution can cut diesel use and emissions during emergencies or other events this year.
“Extreme weather events and the rise of electrification are driving increasing demands on the electric grid for resiliency at affordable costs. At the same time, we need to be moving rapidly toward a net-zero-carbon grid,” said Mainspring CEO Shannon Miller. “Mainspring designed our platform to meet this challenge, and we’re proud that our product is now deployed to help PG&E and its customers to address these challenges and provide them with a cleaner, resilient, and affordable source of power.”