We are pleased to announce that the California Energy Commission has selected the team comprised of the Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), the City of Huntington Beach, Altura Associates, Inc., and the U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to complete a major applied research project to accelerate the deployment of Advanced Energy Communities (AEC). Together with funding from Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas companies the team will receive a total of $1.9 million to develop and apply master community design tools and to integrate innovative, high efficiency and sustainable energy technologies into a Huntington Beach community. The project will become an example and blueprint for the entire State of California regarding how communities can be revitalized, become more sustainable, and lower energy costs.

In this project, the team will integrate and optimize promising new energy innovations into a unified system that efficiently interacts with the existing community electrical grid/infrastructure/buildings, serves various end-uses, obtains performance data for scale-up, and performs cost-benefit analyses for demonstrating economic feasibility. The technologies that will be integrated in the AEC include the following:

• Energy Efficiency Measures (EEM) to increase the energy efficiency and reduce energy (electrical and gas) usage and emissions,
• Renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, and anaerobic digestion of organic waste,
• Energy storage systems for electric, thermal and chemical energy storage to complement the intermittent renewable energy,
• Electric vehicles (EV) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) with EV charging FCEV fueling infrastructure,
• Modernization of electric utility infrastructure, natural gas infrastructure, and natural and renewable gas resources in the community,
• Zero Energy community design concepts,
• Zero emissions backup power (hydrogen fuel cells) for critical loads,
• High temperature fuel cell systems for direct use of local renewable fuel to produce power, heating, and or cooling,
• Smart energy management systems for residential, commercial and industrial buildings, and schools and parks within the community, and
• Smart-grid technologies such as automated demand response, smart appliances, smart electric vehicle charging systems, and electric energy storage systems in the residences, commercial and industrial buildings.

APEP is the prime contractor that will lead and manage the research, development and demonstration project. APEP will use their previously developed renewable energy, smart grid and microgrid, fuel cell and energy storage models and expertise to advance the AEC concept.

The City of Huntington Beach will coordinate collaboration with community groups, provide detailed information on the energy infrastructure and activities that occur in the community, and use their experience in sustainable community planning and development to support the project.

Altura Associates will lead the design and analysis for advanced energy technologies, including identifying opportunities for multiple energy efficiency, control, and distributed generation technologies, as well as current and future needs analysis. Altura will develop a financial plan and business model to assess feasibility, risk, and total costs for the project, and it will apply experience with advanced smart building and community development to provide overall support to the project.

NREL will use advanced analytics expertise to enhance its master planning platform, URBANopt, which is based on the U.S. Department of Energy’s open source building energy modeling platform (i.e., OpenStudio and EnergyPlus).