Enchanted Rock to develop California’s largest RNG microgrid
June 21, 2022
By Enchanted Rock
The project will be fully supported by renewable natural gas and will reduce local emissions by up to 96 per cent compared to alternatives.
Enchanted Rock, a leading provider of electrical resiliency-as-a-service, today announced that it has been contracted by Microsoft to develop California’s largest microgrid fully supported by renewable natural gas (RNG). The microgrid will provide Microsoft’s San Jose, Calif., data centre with back-up power to ensure continuous operations.
“Today’s digital world relies on the uptime and continuity of data centre operations,” said Thomas McAndrew, CEO of Enchanted Rock. “This continuity does not need to come at the expense of companies’ carbon emission reduction goals or local air quality. Microsoft’s decision to pursue a renewable microgrid marks another milestone in the industry as businesses continue to move away from conventional, less carbon-friendly methods, and we expect this project will demonstrate that large-scale, reliable, and cost-effective back-up generation with net-zero carbon can become the new standard.”
With ambitious goals of becoming carbon negative by 2030, Microsoft chose Enchanted Rock for its ability to develop a reliable microgrid with net-zero emissions. The project will out-perform current California Air Resources Board emissions requirements for distributed generation, the most stringent in the world, with hourly local emissions 80-96 per cent lower than Tier 4 diesel standards while delivering higher reliability.
Brian Janous, general manager – DC energy and sustainability at Microsoft said, “This project helps Microsoft take a step towards our goal of eliminating dependence on petroleum-based diesel, while increasing the resilience of our data centre and providing a much-needed capacity resource to the local grid.”
“The climate crisis and environmental degradation hit underserved communities first and hardest,” said Senator Ben Hueso (D-40). “These communities suffer through poor air quality, intolerable heat waves, and punishing droughts. We must take immediate action to reverse the climate crisis and address local environmental impacts. I am hopeful that one day all data centres will replace their backup power systems with carbon-negative, clean renewable natural gas. Today’s announcement will set a precedent I believe all of California’s roughly 240 data centres should follow.”
Power for the microgrid will be supplied by net-zero carbon RNG, injected upstream into the gas pipeline to offset the use of fossil gas. Enchanted Rock sources RNG captured from facilities that emit methane such as food waste and agricultural operations, making it part of the circular economy with neutral or negative carbon intensity.
“California needs practical alternatives to diesel backup generation in order to protect public health and prevent catastrophic climate change,” said Bill Magavern, policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air, a statewide organization that advocates for clean air policies. “This means deploying flexible, dispatchable solutions that can tackle the intermittent nature of renewables, while reducing the environmental and public health impacts of diesel-fueled generators”
“Enchanted Rock and Microsoft are members of the newly announced Infrastructure Masons Climate Accord which is focused on reducing carbon in materials, products and power in the digital infrastructure industry,” said Dean Nelson, chairman and founder of Infrastructure Masons. “We applaud the work they are doing together to drive microgrid innovation at scale, reducing carbon intensity in electrical service without harming public health.”
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