A Green Prison: Santa Rita Jail Creeps Towards Zero Net Energy (ZNE)
A large project is underway at Alameda County's twenty-year old 45 ha 4,000-inmate Santa Rita Jail, about 70 km east of San Francisco. Often described as a green prison, it has a considerable installed base of distributed energy resources including a seven-year old 1.2 MW PV array, a four-year old 1 MW fuel cell with heat recovery, and efficiency investments. A current US$14 M expansion will add approximately 2 MW of NaS batteries, and undetermined wind capacity and a concentrating solar thermal system. This ongoing effort by a progressive local government with considerable Federal and State support provides some excellent lessons for the struggle to lower building carbon footprint.
The Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM) finds true optimal combinations of equipment and operating schedules for microgrids that minimize energy bills and/or carbon emissions without significant searching or rules-of-thumb prioritization, such as "efficiency first then on-site generation." The results often recommend complex systems, and sensitivities show how policy changes will affect choices.
This paper reports an analysis of the historic performance of the PV system and fuel cell, describes the complex optimization applied to the battery scheduling, and shows how results will affect the jail's operational costs, energy consumption, and carbon footprint. DER-CAM is used to assess the existing and proposed DER equipment in its ability to reduce tariff charges.