Fresh off completing its research grant with the California Energy Commission, UniGen Resources has entered into a partnership with Marin Clean Energy (MCE) to undertake a pilot project. This project represents the first step toward commercialization of the UniGen Smart System for Renewable Integration (UniGen) because it involves an actual solar generation resource owned by MCE.
NEXTracker is also a partner in this project and will be providing use of a flow battery storage system.
The purpose of this effort is to simulate scheduling solar generation in the Day Ahead Market (DAM) and maintaining that schedule with the battery storage system. The interaction of the solar resource and the battery will be monitored, including the degree of cycling needed to minimize schedule deviations. In addition, an analysis will be performed using CAISO prices to quantify the economic benefits of scheduling the solar resource in the DAM and minimizing imbalance costs by use of the battery. The studies done for the CEC show that the increase in value by using UniGen is $3.5 to $4.0 million per year and $75 million over the life a typical project.
This project takes on added significance because of CAISO’s intentions to require all renewable generation sources to use the DAM. This change, called the Day Ahead Market Enhancement, will proceed (without phases) for implementation in Fall 2021.
On June 17, 2019 UniGen Resources signed an agreement with Marin Clean Energy (MCE) to undertake a pilot project to test the UniGen Smart System for Renewable Integration (UniGen).
The UniGen Timeline
2012: UniGen Resources is founded by industry veterans John Redding and Jim Detmers.
2012-2016: The UniGen concept is developed and tested using simulation software and historic CAISO data.
2016: UniGen Resources and its collaborative partner California State University at Sacramento (CSUS) is selected by the California Energy Commission for a $650,000 research grant. The project is entitled Applications and Demonstration of the UniGen Smart System for Renewable Integration.
2016-2019: The UniGen Resources team completes five feasibility studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of UniGen when addressing important issues such as enhancing reliability when renewables reach 40% or more, managing the Duck Curve, and use of the Day Ahead Market by Variable Energy Resources. In addition, the core software system is developed and tested in the laboratories of CSUS.
June 2019: UniGen Resources takes its first step toward commercializing UniGen by partnering with Marin Clean Energy (MCE) to undertake a pilot project using a small solar resource owned by MCE and a flow battery provided by NEXTracker, the third party to a Memorandum of Understanding. This pilot project will simulate scheduling solar generation in the Day Ahead Market and maintaining that schedule with the battery storage system. The project is expected to take six months during which time the software system will be tested on real equipment and financial data will be collected and analyzed to quantify the financial benefits of scheduling solar in the Day Ahead Market.