Improving Energy System Resilience at Berkeley Lab and Beyond

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This report provides recommendations for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and other entities to improve energy-system resilience in response to electrical power disruptions for which Berkeley Lab receives advanced notice, as well as other hazards that may affect energy services without notice, primarily local fires and major earthquakes. The recommendations are informed by Berkeley Lab’s experience responding to Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events in the fall of 2019 that resulted in three days of electrical power disruption. The Lab was closed a total of nine days to accommodate an orderly process of powering down buildings before power outages and restarting operations thereafter. Loss of electricity services poses a significant cost to Berkeley Lab associated with disrupting research and its operation of public user facilities such as the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), the Advanced Light Source, the Molecular Foundry, and the Joint Genome Institute. The recommendations are also based on an evaluation of the costs, environmental risks, space constraints, and resilience characteristics of several electricity generation and storage technologies. The evaluated technologies include gas turbine systems operating on natural gas, reciprocating engine gensets using a variety of fuels, solar photovoltaics, electricity storage using lithium-ion and redox-flow batteries, and various configurations of fuel cells with and without hydrogen storage.

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